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Canada: Hackers targeted country's 2015 election, may try again
[OTTAWA] Canada's electronic eavesdropping agency warned Friday that hackers and foreign states may try to sway its elections in 2019, after so-called hacktivists tried but failed to influence the 2015 ballot that brought Justin Trudeau's Liberals to power.
In a report, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) said hacktivists and cybercriminals had leaked sensitive government documents, and attempted to smear candidates and spread disinformation and propaganda ahead of the 2015 vote.
These "low sophistication" attacks "did not impact the outcome of the election," the CSE concluded.
But it added that hacktivists are "very likely" to try again when Canadians return to the polls in 2019.
The agency pointed to hacker group Anonymous leaking secret documents in 2015 on Canadian diplomatic buildings and the size of Canada's spy network overseas.
Nation-states have so far not targeted Canada's 150-year-old democracy, the CSE said.
But they may try in the next election, the agency said, depending on "how Canada's nation-state adversaries perceive Canada's foreign and domestic policies, and on the spectrum of policies espoused by Canadian federal candidates in 2019."
The report comes as US officials probe alleged Russian interference in last year's US presidential elections and after French President Emmanuel Macron's election campaign was subject to cyberattacks.
According to the CSE, 13 per cent of countries holding national elections this year have had their democratic process targeted.
The CSE report said political parties, politicians and the media in Canada faced the greatest vulnerability to cyberthreats and "influence operations." The election system itself still relies on paper ballots.