Elections Canada Preparing For Hackers Ahead Of Fall Vote

Canada’s chief electoral officer has issued a warning about hackers, saying there is mounting evidence that they will try and interfere in Canada’s federal election this October to undermine the democratic process.

Citing episodes of foreign interference in democratic elections in the United States in 2016 and the U.K.’s Brexit vote, Canadian Chief Electoral Officer Stephane Perrault said this week that Canada now is "quite alert" to the threat and is preparing for hackers ahead of the October federal election.

Last month, Canadian security sources said they were concerned about the potential weakness in political parties’ cyber networks, particularly from the thousands of volunteers. To help the situation, Elections Canada is acting as an intermediary between federal political parties and the country’s security services.

Elections Canada, an independent body that manages the nation’s federal voting, is also running various scenarios, including simulating an election in five electoral districts earlier this year, to make sure it is prepared to handle any problems with hackers and social media. Perreault said Elections Canada has revamped its IT network and focused on training employees how to avoid phishing and other online threats.

Elections Canada has also set up a team of about 20 people to monitor social media and the news outlets for incorrect information about the electoral process. The team will be using software that reads more than 20 languages and it will be fully operational on June 30 this year.