Government announces $142M to beef up Canadian cybersecurity
A laptop keyboard is shown in this file photo. (AP / Damian Dovarganes)
The federal government is injecting an additional $142 million into its cybersecurity budget, in an effort to prevent future cyberattacks against government and private sector targets in Canada.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney announced the funds at a news conference in Ottawa on Wednesday. The money will go toward battling all manner of online threats against government and private websites, including database breaches, website hacks and online fraud.
Some of the additional money will help fund a group of RCMP cybersecurity experts who will be dedicated to investigating online threats.
The beefed-up cybersecurity budget comes on the heels of several high-profile hacks, including attacks on RCMP websites, the CSIS website and a personal information breach at Ashley Madison, a Toronto-based site used to facilitate extramarital affairs.
No suspects have been arrested in any of these recent cyberattacks.
In his announcement, Blaney stressed the importance of helping private companies strengthen their security against potential cyberattacks.
“We cannot and will not let down our guard,” Blaney said in Ottawa. “We will continue to work with the private sector to establish a better partnership,” he said.
When asked, Blaney did not provide a concrete timeline for when the RCMP’s dedicated cybersecurity force will begin watching the web. He said the government already has cybersecurity measures in place, and the new funding will simply add to what’s already there.
Blaney later told CTV News Channel that this new funding has been in the works for months. He said the money will go toward making it much easier for governments to monitor threats against private businesses.
“We need to work together,” he told CTV News Channel.
Despite the additional spending, Blaney insisted his government will still balance the budget this year.
Blaney’s insistence comes on the same day the Parliamentary Budget Officer projected a $1 billion federal deficit in 2015.