Cyberattacks top concern for Bank of Canada boss amid rapidly changing tactics – National

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OTTAWA – Of all the economic fears that could keep Stephen Poloz awake at night, the threat of a cyberattack is perhaps the one that troubles him the most.The Bank of Canada governor can talk all day about household debt and how a global recession would slow down the economy, push up unemployment and make mortgage payments difficult for some people, and never lose faith that the system would be resilient enough to prevail, he said in an interview.READ MORE: Bank of Canada flags NAFTA, Bombardier trade woes: U.S. protectionism ‘already evident’But a cyberattack against the financial system? Poloz admits he’s unsure what the fallout would be and he struggles to picture what such an event might look like.For a policy-maker who carefully studies stacks of data before making a decision, the many unknowns surrounding the rapidly evolving world of cyberthreats are disconcerting, to say the least.

Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, holds a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 8, 2017.

Stephen Poloz, Governor of the Bank of Canada, holds a press conference at the National Press Theatre in Ottawa on Wednesday, June 8, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Story continues below“It leaps up to the top of your consciousness pretty quickly – I think in many ways it’s more worrisome than all the other stuff,” Poloz told The Canadian Press in an interview Wednesday at the bank’s headquarters in Ottawa.“Every event you hear of sounds different, or happens in a different way…. There’s all these things you and you think, ‘My God, how do I get my arms around that whole risk and what are the consequences?”‘Poloz shared his unease at a time when governments, central banks and the private sector around the world are searching for new strategies to counter hacks. Many, including the Bank of Canada, are pouring more resources into the area to learn new ways to prevent an attack, react to contain any damage, and how to pick up the pieces afterwards, if necessary.READ MORE: Small businesses often more vulnerable to cyberattacks, experts sayThe central bank warned Canadians in June that the country’s interconnected banks are vulnerable to a cascading series of cyberattacks, something that could undermine broad confidence in the financial system.The report, known as the financial system review, also said such structural vulnerability could allow for the easy spread of an initial attack into other sectors, such as energy or water systems. The report urged commercial banks to co-operate on countering the threats, which aren’t going away any time soon.It pointed to eight high-profile cyberattacks on banks in 2016, including an US$81-million heist at the Bangladesh Bank.Deadly Kenya clashes ramp up tensions amid election hacking claims