Cyber Security, a Shared Responsibility

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A message from the Defence Chief Information Officer and the Director General Defence Security

Did you pay attention this past summer when hackers leaked the identities of 32 million users from the notorious matchmaking website ‘Ashley Madison’? Hackers threatened to release personal information from customer records, including financial transactions, addresses, and explicit photographs.

Did you follow the news earlier this year when a group claiming to represent Islamic State militants published a list of names and personal addresses of 100 US military personnel, information that was allegedly gathered from the public domain?

The lessons from these scenarios are undeniable: Cyber threats lurk everywhere, ready to attack our digital identities, even when we believe we are secure. What’s more, the cyber world does not discriminate between our professional and personal lives. These intersect to create one digital identity, which can be pieced together by assembling the mosaic of personal and professional information.

Internet databanks are only increasing as more Canadians embrace the convenience of the digital world. According to Statistics Canada, 83 per cent of Canadian households had access to the Internet at home in 2012. Similarly, by March 2014, 84 per cent of Canadian tax returns had been filed electronically, indicating that Canadians are feeling secure about using digital tools to share personal information.

As the amount of personal data stored on the Internet grows, so does the risk that this mosaic of data will be used for malicious activity. And yet, many people take risks online: by opening email from an unknown source, not protecting personal information stored on a computer, or sharing personal information without considering the risks.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. It is a timely reminder for all of us to evaluate the safety of our online activities, get informed about the real security risks in the digital world, and adopt safe electronic practices – at work, and at home.

At work, the DND/CAF information holdings, networks, and IT assets are protected by layered defences. However, it is not only up to the technical experts; every member of the Defence Team has a role to play. Take this opportunity to review your responsibilities and adhere to the IT security practices in your work area.

At home, you can help protect yourself by ensuring you have the latest anti-virus software, using firewalls, and being careful about the information you share on social media platforms.

Adopting safe cyber practices protects our Defence information holdings, our military capabilities, our collective physical security as Defence Team members, our personal security and, ultimately, our ability to defend Canadians.

Take the time this October, during Cyber Security Awareness Month, to review your online safety practices. Cyber security matters to everyone, every day.

Len Bastien,
ADM (Information Management) / Defence Chief Information Officer

BGen Louis Meloche,
Director General Defence Security

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