The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) identified Russia and China as specific sources of concern, stating that core national security risks such as violent extremism, international intervention, sabotage, and disruptive cyber activity increased in 2020 and “became much more serious for Canadians.”
In its annual report for last year, CSIS linked the jump in foreign spying to the increasing number of people working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the study, “foreign threat actors — including hostile intelligence services and those working on their behalf — have sought to exploit the social and economic conditions created by the pandemic” in order to collect useful information.
The paper was the most recent by Canada’s intelligence community to concentrate on Russia and China.
CSIS’s director said in February that China faced a serious geopolitical threat, while the signals intelligence agency for the first time last November listed state-sponsored projects in China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea as cyber crime threats.
“In 2020, CSIS observed espionage and foreign interference activity at levels not seen since the Cold War,” CSIS said.
“China, Russia, and other foreign states continued to covertly gather political, economic, and military information in Canada through targeted threat activities in support of their own state development goals.”