Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand warned on Saturday that cyberattacks are increasingly targeting the country’s key infrastructure, posing a substantial threat to the economy of the world’s fourth-largest crude oil producer.
After researchers found a Chinese hacking cell spying on such networks, the US State Department warned last month that China was capable of conducting cyberattacks against oil and gas pipelines and train systems.
Anand stated that there has been an upsurge in cyberattacks across North America in an interview on the sidelines of an Asian security meeting in Singapore, though she did not connect the strikes to any state-sponsored entities.
“We have seen attacks on critical infrastructure in our country and we are very conscious to advise Canadian organisations and Canadian companies to take mitigation measures,” Anand said.
“The risks can be substantial to our economy and systems that are protecting the lives of our citizens.”
Canada is home to several huge oil pipelines that are critical to global crude supply. Exxon Mobil (XOM.N) and Royal Dutch Shell (SHEL.L) are two multinational energy firms with significant activities in the country.
Anand was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, Asia’s top security gathering, where escalating tensions between the US and China have predominated.
Chinese military authorities have accused the United States and its allies of using the conference to band together against Beijing and sow discord in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We have to keep our eyes wide open on China. They have become an increasingly disruptive global power,” Anand said when asked about China’s complaints.