Chief electoral officer worries parties are weak link in cybersecurity chain

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OTTAWA — Canada’s chief electoral officer is “pretty confident” that Elections Canada has good safeguards to prevent cyberattacks from robbing Canadians of their right to vote in this year’s federal election.

But Stephane Perrault is worried that political parties aren’t so well equipped.

Perrault notes that securing computer systems against attacks is costly and he worries that parties don’t have the resources to do it properly.

Moreover, with thousands of volunteers involved in campaigns, he says it’s difficult to ensure no one opens a phishing email, inadvertently giving hackers access to a party’s databases.

By contrast, Perrault says since the 2015 vote, Elections Canada has rebuilt its IT infrastructure with sophisticated security improvements, based on advice from the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s cyberspy agency.

He says CSE now monitors the Elections Canada’s systems 24 hours a day, seven days a week.