Canadians confident, concerned about cyber attacks: Study

Leaders of Canadian organizations are more confident than American, British and Australian they can beat back targeted Internet attacks, according to a new survey.

The study, paid for by BAE Systems, which sells security and data solutions for governments, carriers and the transportation industry, showed that Canadians were the most confident when asked if their company and their sector were well equipped to prevent targeted cyber attacks.

The vast majority – 92 per cent — were confident in their organization’s ability to prevent targeted attacks compared to 88 per cent of respondents overall. A similar majority (90%) were confident in their sector’s ability to prevent attacks versus 78% overall.    

Respondents were 350 strategic and IT decision makers in the UK, US, Australia and Canada surveyed last fall.

Interestingly, though,  30 per cent of Canadian organizations surveyed did not have, or were unaware of, crisis plans in the event of a cyber attack on their company. Of those respondents who did have crisis plans, Canadians were the least likely to say these plans were well publicized ( 37 per cent compared to 54 per cent) overall.

And note this: Forty-eight per cent of Canadian respondents said they were unaware of any cyber threat information sharing initiatives by governments or industry bodies. That compares to 66 per cent awareness of U.S. respondents.

On the other hand in follow up 54 per cent of Canadian respondents said they had recently increased their IT security spending. Seventy-seven per cent of Canadian respondents said it had gone up in the previous 12 months.

In a news release BAE said Canadians have a “curious combination of confidence and concern” on IT security.

Canadian respondents were least likely to be confident when asked about their board of directors’ grasp of cyber threats, with a significant proportion of Canadian respondents (36 per cent) saying they did not believe that their boards fully understood the risks.

Another way Canadians differed from respondents from other countries was when they were asked which groups were most likely to mount a targeted cyber attack. Canadian respondents chose hobbyist hackers (60 per cent) as the top ranking threat, compared to 46 per cent internationally.

By contrast, each of the other countries ranked organized groups of fraudsters as the chief threat group (55 per cent of respondents internationally), compared to 48 per cent of Canadian respondents.

“The research demonstrates there is a growing attentiveness of the increasing cyber threat,” Martin Sutherland, managing director of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, said in a statement, “but more work needs to be done to raise awareness levels across Canadian organizations of the unique risks inherent in a coordinated cyber attack. We are now seeing a dangerous combination of organized criminal groups using highly-sophisticated cyber techniques to carry out financial crime on an industrialized scale.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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