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ICYMI— Cyber risks and municipalities: what leaders should know

By Jon Ferguson

In case you missed it, ghostly costumes and massive quantities of candy were not the only scary things to talk about this past Halloween. CIRA and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) co-presented Cyber risks and municipalities: what leaders should know, and with the help of a distinguished panel, attempted to unpack the cyber challenges facing the sector. The virtual panel featured Melanie Power (OPP), Kevin Paul (Cybera) and Lindsay MacDonald (Cyber Centre) in a conversation moderated by Emily Laidlaw (University of Calgary). 

We know the unique problems local governments are up against:  

  • Municipal governments hold more personal data than most of their private or public sector counterparts, making them an attractive target. 
  • Municipalities typically have fewer resources and older technology, making them a potentially easy task for malicious actors. 

Ultimately, it’s a recipe for catastrophic and costly cyber attacks. 

Why are municipalities, schools, healthcare and universities still cybercriminals’ biggest targets?

That’s why CIRA partnered with FCM to provide information, tools and resources to municipal stakeholders, with a goal of improving cybersecurity across Canada, be it in hamlets, small towns, or major metropolitan centres.  

You can see a full recording of our conversation here: 

The scope of the problem is too big to go it alone 

We know that we’re stronger together.  Municipalities are facing attacks from large and sophisticated entities— alone, no organization can defend itself, particularly when they already face significant gaps in funding, resources and know-how. By coming together, municipalities can create communities of trust in which they share information and resources, helping to achieve economies of scale to source cybersecurity services, deepen their defences and knowledge across a wide range of topics. There are also organizations like CIRA, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, Municipal Information Systems Associations and more, that want to partner with municipalities to improve their cybersecurity postures. Cybersecurity is a team sport; don’t face it alone.  

Key resources 


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About the author
Jon Ferguson

Jon Ferguson leads the Cybersecurity & DNS services unit at CIRA that builds upon the organization’s world class DNS services to provide cybersecurity services and training to Canadians and the global internet community. For the past 15 years, Jon has worked in product leadership roles for organizations building globally distributed Internet of Things and Cybersecurity solutions.