NAOC Essay Competition Winning Entry: A Matter of Cyber Security

To accommodate our modern way of life, reliance on electronic services (such as the internet) has grown massively. This also means that this dependence is a convenience to individuals and organizations intending to breach classified information or to access critical infrastructure illegally.

Information breaches have evolved to become an tool used by foreign states to intrude in another country’s private affairs. In 2011, the Canadian government was reportedly hacked by individuals using Chinese IPs who were likely state-sponsored. This confirms that Canada is vulnerable to transnational, and possibly state-sponsored cyber attacks. In future years, cyber espionnage will likely become a common tool used by foreign governments. For this reason, I argue that cybercrime will only expand, and, therefore, we should prioritize it as a primary security matter. The more so since cyber attacks have also become a security crisis for assets containing an electrical infrastructure.

It was once uncommon to hear of the infiltration of “electrical infrastructure”. This is no longer the case. The idea of obtaining the ability to manage electrical infrastructure such as electrical grids, power plants, and aviation software is no longer a fantasy. Ukraine had already encountered this issue on December 23, 2015, when the electrical grid was illegally accessed and a blackout created intentionally. Canada also experienced attacks from state-sponsored sophisticated malware in January, 2016, which had the potential to access electrical infrastructures. Therefore it is my opinion that this will become a greater threat to Canadian security in the wake of rapid technological advancement.

In conclusion, the breaching of classified information and electrical infrastructures has become a common weapon for criminal organizations and foreign governments. In this I argue that cyber security is of utmost importance to Canadian security, especially in future years, where certain tools will be developed for these specific intentions.

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Disclaimer: Any views or opinions expressed in articles are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the NATO Association of Canada.

About Ali Al-Saady

Ali Al-Saady is a Grade 10 student at Saint Francis Xavier High School in Ottawa, ON. His favorite subjects are History, English, Civics and Business and he enjoys playing basketball and swimming in his free time. Ali is passionate about environmental preservation and is a supporter of the anti-nuclear and free trade movements. In the future, Ali hopes to pursue an undergraduate degree in political science and then go on to Law School to specialize in corporate law. Ali is the second runner up in the Grade 9 & 10 Category for NAOC's 2016 high school essay competition.