2022 Canadian Federal Budget Includes Spending On Cybersecurity

Yesterday’s Federal Budget had a lot in it for people to pick apart. But being an IT Nerd, I am focused on the new spending for cybersecurity:

Announced this afternoon, Budget 2022 also proposes to provide $238.2 million per year after the initial five year period for additional measures to address the rapidly evolving cyber threat landscape. The budget still has to be passed by Parliament.

The spending will include:
–$263.9 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $96.5 million annually ongoing to enhance the Communications Security Establishment’s (CSE’s) abilities to launch offensive cyber operations to prevent and defend against cyber attacks. The CSE is a division within the Defence Department that is responsible for protecting federal IT networks;
–$180.3 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $40.6 million per year ongoing to enhance CSE’s abilities to prevent and respond to cyberattacks on critical infrastructure;
–$178.7 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $39.5 million annually ongoing to expand cyber security protection for small departments, agencies, and Crown corporations; and,
–$252.3 million over five years, starting in 2022-23, and $61.7 million per year ongoing for CSE to make critical government systems more resilient to cyber incidents.

There would also be extra money to help cybersecurity researchers in fields such as quantum computing and artificial intelligence.

Those are big numbers. Thus this must be good. Right? I reached out to an expert to answer this question. Specifically David Masson, Director of Enterprise Security at cybersecurity AI firm, Darktrace:

“The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, the public-facing arm of the CSE, has issued several cyber threat bulletins and advisories warning Canadian organizations operating critical infrastructure (CI) of the threat of cyber-attacks from Russia and Russian sponsored-proxies. It is no surprise that the Canadian Government underscores this priority with the allotment of $180 million to protect these increasingly vulnerable organizations and an additional $252 million to build government cyber-resilience in the face of incoming cyber-threats.  

 In addition to protecting CI and strengthening government defences, the vast majority of the announced budget will support the CSE in boosting its cyber capabilities, including launching offensive cyber operations against malicious actors. This shift to offensive cyber operations to succinctly combat cyber-attacks may indicate troubling intelligence surrounding impending cyber-threats. Overall, the new budget emphasizes cyber “defence,” where the strategic advantage will be with those who can defend most successfully and quickly – not focused on attacking their enemy. This funding is an essential step in ensuring that Canadian organizations do not get left behind in the global cyber war.”

It seems that Mr. Masson thinks this is positive. So I will go with that. Hopefully the Federal Government spends this money wisely so that Canadians are protected from cyber threats of all sorts.

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