Auditor general says N.S. slow to act on cybersecurity amid increasing risk

·1 min read

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia’s auditor general says the COVID-19 pandemic is highlighting the need for more robust cybersecurity and anti-fraud measures as government employees are forced to work remotely.

However, he says the provincial government isn't working fast enough to manage those risks.

Acting auditor general Terry Spicer notes in a report released Tuesday that the federal government's Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity has warned of an increase in attempts to access and attack networks used by remote workers.

The audit finds that 10 provincial government departments, nine public service units and 19 government organizations have not completed fraud risk assessments.

It adds that Service Nova Scotia, which helps citizens access government programs and services, is lagging behind on finalizing its regulations around cybersecurity.

The auditor general cautions that fraud in the public sector can result in the loss of taxpayer funds and erode the public’s confidence in government if the risk isn’t properly handled.

Tim Houston, leader of the Opposition Progressive Conservatives, said in a statement that the auditor general's findings reveal the province is failing to protect the information of residents.

"As governments around the world find themselves increasingly at risk of cyberattacks, Nova Scotia has shown that it doesn’t place a high importance on keeping our health and other records safe from improper access," Houston said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 1, 2020.

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This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship

The Canadian Press