“Canadian research organizations should remain vigilant and ensure that they are applying best practices”
The federal government is encouraging all members of the research community – including those in government, academia, and the private sector – to take extra precautions to protect the security of COVID-19 related research, intellectual property and knowledge development.
In doing so, the research community will help to not only safeguard critical pandemic-related research and innovation, but to also protect national security, the integrity of Canada’s research ecosystem, and to support long-term economic competitiveness and prosperity, said the government.
The government said it remains committed to the principles of Open Science as an essential part of innovative and collaborative research, but the global pandemic has prompted new, aggressive targeting of research.
The warning came after similar warnings from government partners at the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
“Espionage and foreign interference activities by both human and cyber actors pose real threats to Canadian research integrity, intellectual property and business interests. Canadian research organizations should remain vigilant and ensure that they are applying best practices for securing their research and intellectual property, including employing strong cybersecurity and physical security protocols,” said the government.
“Innovators, researchers and research institutions should consult the Government of Canada’s “Safeguarding Your Research” webpage to access helpful tools, information and links to resources and learn about best practices that will assist them in protecting the knowledge and innovations they are developing.”
The government has also instructed federal research funding agencies – including the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council – to review their security policies and processes and to promote awareness of the best practices and tools available to the Canadian researchers and innovators they fund, so researchers can appropriately protect their innovative work.
More than one-third (36 per cent) of business executives believe that cybersecurity threats have increased now that the majority of their employees work from home, according to a quick survey by CNBC released in March.
Also, COS previously reported that cybersecurity is a rising concern as telework increases due to COVID-19.