UPDATE 2-Canada slow to respond to cyber threats - auditor

Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:24pm EDT
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* Canada lacks round-the-clock incident response center

* Government has already promised more money for security

* Report follows 2011 hacking incident

By Andrea Hopkins

Oct 23 (Reuters) - Canada's response to cyber threats has been slow and incomplete, the federal Auditor General said in a report on Tuesday that cited bad communication and part-time monitoring as weaknesses in the nation's computer and infrastructure security system.

The federal Conservative government has made limited progress in patching cracks in the security of Canada's physical and information technology network since a cyber attack crippled the Finance Department and Treasury Board in 2011, Auditor General Michael Ferguson said.

Ferguson criticized poor monitoring of threats, noting the Canadian Cyber Incident Response Center is still not operating 24 hours a day or seven days a week, as was intended when the center was set up seven years ago.

"This restriction on operating hours can delay the detection of emerging threats and the sharing of related information among stakeholders," the report concluded.

The report comes nearly two years after the government was forced to shut down Internet access in key departments after servers linked to China infiltrated computer systems at the Finance Department and Treasury Board. The January 2011 attack was linked with attempts to gather data about a potential takeover of Potash Corp of Saskatchewan, the world's biggest fertilizer producer.   Continued...