Cybercrime is reaching epidemic proportions in Canada, warns a report published Monday from the Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce.
The report finds that millions of Canadian have been victimized online (10 million in 2017), with breaches of personal data at the big banks, telecoms and tech companies. The country’s “critical infrastructure is vulnerable to attack thanks to an absence of cybersecurity standards and a lack of co-ordinated information sharing,” the committee says in a news release.
The report criticizes the federal government for its “timid responses” to the online threat, and says that there’s much more that could be done to better protect against cybercrime. “It is imperative that the federal government act swiftly and decisively to deprive cybercriminals of the advantages they continue to enjoy,” states the report.
In particular, the report recommends the government: prioritize cybersecurity education as part of a national cybersecurity strategy; modernize privacy legislation; set cybersecurity standards; empower the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to make enforcement orders against companies that fail to protect their customers’ information; and give businesses incentives to invest in cybersecurity, such as making these sorts of investments tax deductible.
Additionally, the report recommends that the feds create a minister of cybersecurity to “co-ordinate cybersecurity efforts across all levels of government and help Canadians hold the federal government to account for its efforts to keep Canadians safe.”
“This epidemic of criminal acts has already affected millions of Canadians and threatens our national security. The problem is only going to get worse if the government does not make a full-throated commitment to stamp out this serious and growing problem. We can no longer afford to delay — Canadians are waiting for someone to help them,” says Senator Doug Black, chairman of the committee, in a statement.