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Feds roll out new cybersecurity strategy to protect from online attacks, crime

Networking cables in a server bay are shown in Toronto on Wednesday, November 8, 2017. The federal government is rolling out a new cyber-security strategy designed to better protect the country and its citizens from the growing threat of online attacks and crime. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The federal government is rolling out a new cybersecurity strategy designed to better protect the country and its citizens from the growing threat of online attacks and crime.

The plan, backstopped by $500 million over five years that was included in this year’s federal budget, includes a range of initiatives aimed at the public as well as businesses.

Those include the establishment of a new Canadian Centre for Cyber Security this fall, a certification program for small businesses that want to shore up their cyber-defences and more resources for the RCMP to tackle online crime.

But the plan faces challenges, including a shortage of cybersecurity specialists that is making it difficult for the federal government and others to recruit talent.

The strategy anticipates Canada becoming a global leader in cybersecurity, creating new jobs in the process as the world moves increasingly online, but it does not include specific funding to get more Canadians into the field.

The plan is also largely silent about foreign-owned telecommunications companies such as Huawei, which intelligence chiefs in the U.S. have identified as a national security risk.