Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney says the government will spend an additional $142.6 million over five years to beef up cyber security across government agencies and in turn help private companies ward off cyber attacks.
Blaney said the money would go directly to four government agencies: Public Safety Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Communications Security Establishment and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
"This investment will be used to bolster the protection of essential cyber systems outside of the federal government, by this I'm talking about the systems that support key sectors of the Canadian economy such as telecommunications, finance, transportation, energy, utilities," Blaney said at a press conference in Ottawa Wednesday.
The private sector is experiencing not occasional but regular, steady attacks on their cyber systems
- John Manley, Canadian Council of Chief Executives
"Our critical infrastructure sectors are increasingly online and interconnected through cyber space making them more vulnerable to cyber attacks."
Blaney said the money would also "significantly" increase the capacity of the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Centre to respond to cyber attacks in the private sector, including "the development of real-time automated feeds of cyberthreat information."
The funding, Blaney said, is in addition to the $94.4 million over five years announced in the April budget, bringing the total investment for cyber security over the next five years to $237 million.
Cyber security keeps CEOs 'awake at night'
The public safety minister was joined by John Manley, a former Liberal deputy prime minister who is now president and CEO of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, a group representing the leaders of Canada's largest companies.
Manley said concern over cyber security is increasingly what keeps Canada's top bosses "awake at night."
"The private sector is experiencing not occasional but regular, steady attacks on their cyber systems," Manley said during the news conference on Wednesday. "This doesn't happen once a week or once a month, it happens on a daily and repetitive basis."
Manley said the private sector welcomed the cooperation of the federal government whose agencies can investigate cyber attacks and prosecute cyber crime.
Wednesday's announcement comes after a Canadian-owned website for people seeking affairs was recovering from a cyberattack Monday, in which hackers claiming to have stolen confidential customer information online threatened to publish all of it unless the company is shut down.
Avid Life Media, which owns Toronto-based cheating site AshleyMadison.com, called the attack an "act of cyberterrorism."
Some RCMP websites appeared to go offline over the weekend after a masked man was fatally shot by a Mountie in Dawson Creek, B.C. Members claiming to be part of the vigilante group Anonymous claimed responsibility for shutting down the RCMP website.
The website of Canada's spy agency, CSIS, was also offline for several hours over the course of a few days in June.
And the National Research Council came under attack last summer for nearly three weeks before it notified stakeholders, employees and the public.