Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, has also covertly hacked into computers across the world to gather intelligence, breaking into networks in Europe, Mexico, the Middle East and North Africa, the documents show.
The revelations, reported Monday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, shine a light for the first time on how Canada has adopted aggressive tactics to attack, sabotage and infiltrate targeted computer systems.
Christopher Parsons, a surveillance expert at the University of Toronto’sCitizen Lab, told CBC News that the new revelations showed that Canada’s computer networks had already been “turned into a battlefield without any Canadian being asked: Should it be done? How should it be done?”
According to documents obtained by The Intercept from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden, CSE has a wide range of powerful tools to perform “computer network exploitation” and “computer network attack” operations. These involve hacking into networks to either gather intelligence or to damage adversaries’ infrastructure, potentially including electricity, transportation or banking systems. The most well-known example of a state-sponsored “attack” operation involved the use of Stuxnet, a computer worm that was reportedly developed by the United States and Israel to sabotage Iranian nuclear facilities.