Trudeau pledges more action on cybersecurity following Huawei 5G ban

Trudeau pledges more action on cybersecurity following Huawei 5G ban


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OTTAWA – A day after federal liberals banned Chinese companies Huawei Technologies and ZTE from helping build Canada’s 5G networks, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more needs to be done to protect critical systems from threats.

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The government is working closely with large financial institutions and other companies across the country to protect the vital networks of malicious attackers, Trudeau said Friday at an event in Quebec.

Canada will do more, whether through legislation, new spending or “better and stronger partnerships,” he told reporters.

Trudeau did not seem discouraged by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin raising the specter of retaliation for Canada’s decision on 5G at a news conference on Friday.

“Without any solid evidence, the Canadian side cited vague security risks as a pretext for excluding relevant Chinese companies from its market,” Wang said.

“This measure violates the principle of a market economy and free trade rules and seriously harms the rights and legitimate interests of Chinese companies.”

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Trudeau acknowledged that Canada’s 5G policy “could lead to World Trade Organization challenges.”

“But we believe it is extremely important to stand up for Canadian protection, Canadian interests and Canadian security. That is why we made this decision and uphold it.”

The Liberal government made it clear this week that the long-awaited 5G decision is just a first step in an era of perpetual cyberattacks, ransomware operations and efforts by criminal hackers and state-sponsored players to steal information or sabotage infrastructure. key.

Public Security Minister Marco Mendicino said on Thursday that the government will introduce legislation to protect critical infrastructure in the financial, telecommunications, energy and transport sectors.

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In addition, the Prime Minister’s letter from Mendicino instructs him to step up efforts to detect security risks in foreign research and investment associations, in part by increasing the resources of the RCMP and the security agency for this purpose.

Fen Hampson, a professor of international affairs at Carleton University, said legitimate concerns about network integrity, as well as persistent pressure from the United States, helped shape Canada’s decision to exclude Chinese vendors. of 5G.

“Will this solve our security problems, security issues? Absolutely not.”

Much of the “hidden wiring” of the Canadian economy is in private hands, and securing it is a big challenge, he said. “We have to do a lot more.”

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Hampson is wondering if Canada is prepared for a major cyberattack on a seaport or machines in oil sands that rely on remote communication technologies.

“I think the short answer is no,” he said. “I mean, yes, we’re improving. But it’s not just about being able to frustrate and deter these attacks, it’s about how resilient we are.

The latest federal budget allocates $ 875 million over five years and $ 238.2 million in progress for cybersecurity measures, including programs from the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic intelligence service, and stronger for small federal departments, agencies and Crown corporations.

Ulrike Bahr-Gedalia, senior director of digital economy, technology and innovation at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, hailed the move as “totally important”.

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However, the House wants the government to step back and help the private sector strengthen its defenses.

Bahr-Gedalia said that knowing how to predict and prevent problems in the digital realm is essential.

“It’s crucial that companies are safe and secure,” he said. “We really want to be ahead of the game, which is so important.”

The chamber urges the government to spend $ 1 billion to protect critical infrastructure, supply chains and businesses of all sizes in Canada from cyber threats.

This will increase the more than $ 7 billion the private sector already spends on cybersecurity products and services, he says.

It is also asking for $ 300 million to accelerate the commercialization of these products and services in Canada, and $ 200 million to build Canada’s future cybersecurity workforce through education, talent development and retention programs.

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