B.C. leads Canada in race for better cybersecurity
A dozen Canadian ministers met in Vancouver last week to consider better protecting citizens’ private information online.
The Digital Trust and Cybersecurity Symposium on January 25 was attended by representatives from every province and territory except Alberta and took place approximately six months after the opening meeting in Quebec.
“Since June we have been working together to develop solutions that are scalable and can work together. We’ve seen real progress,” a spokesman for BC’s Department of Citizen Services wrote in an email to CTV News on Tuesday. “The symposium recognized that governments must take the lead to ensure that personal data is protected in the digital world.”
According to the statement, a Digital Credential and Trust Program Office has been established to support “cross-jurisdictional implementation teams” of all sizes.
BC WALLET PILOT PROJECT
Currently, BC is the only province piloting an app that will allow users to receive, store and present digital credentials.
The pilot program, called BC Wallet, launched last September and is currently being tested by a small number of family law attorneys through the Law Society of British Columbia.
According to the Department of Citizen Services, work on the wallet is open source and available for other Canadian jurisdictions should other provinces and territories wish to test the tool themselves.
The general public can also access the BC Wallet app, but “most people will have limited or no practical use of it in the short to medium term,” according to the ministry.
Meanwhile, digital credentials allow family attorneys to “offer services to citizens from every corner of the province, including virtually, saving time and costs for everyone.”
When asked about cybersecurity trends in BC, the ministry said the government had no data on the number of cyberfraud victims or a formal role in investigating breaches by non-ministerial public bodies.
“Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and that requires constant vigilance and cutting-edge technology to continue to thwart attacks and fraudulent schemes,” the statement said.
SCHOOL QUARTERS NEED PROTECTION
The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows School District recently announced a breach of a database of 19,126 records affecting both students and staff.
“While this data is available internally to students and staff in our Active Directory (email) phone book, in the wrong hands it could be used for targeted phishing attacks that attempt to trick the recipient into clicking on links or download attachments,” read a Jan. 18 SD42 statement. “Our investigation into how this data was accessed is ongoing.”
MLT Atkins, a western Canadian law firm, emphasizes the importance of educational institutions and other public sector organizations having privacy policies and breach response plans in place.
“Most breaches pose a real risk of significant harm and when they do they must be reported to the relevant data protection officer and data subjects,” the law firm wrote on its blog.
A dedicated team, the Office of the Chief Information Officer, is already in place to protect government systems from intruders and cybersecurity risks, and operates networks 24 hours a day, seven days a week.