A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee

A woman types on her laptop in Miami in a Monday, Dec. 12, 2016, photo illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Wilfredo Lee

British Columbia government lax on cybersecurity practices, auditor reports

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally

The British Columbia government must do a better job of protecting its computer systems from cybersecurity threats, says auditor general Michael Pickup.

An audit of five government ministries found only Education and the information branch of Citizens’ Services provided strong protections against potential threats, he said Tuesday.

The audit concluded the ministries of Finance, Health and Natural Resources as well as much of Citizens’ Services did not have adequate cybersecurity practices to manage its information technology systems, Pickup told a news conference.

The audit did not highlight a specific threat, but it found breaches in cybersecurity are increasing globally.

Pickup said organizations with poorly managed security practices are vulnerable to attacks.

“These weaknesses could hinder the ability of the ministries to develop and implement appropriate safeguards to protect their IT assets from cybersecurity threats,” he said.

The audit found security standards at the ministries lacked specific definitions of roles and responsibilities, said Pickup.

It also found inappropriately maintained inventories, including unauthorized devices on networks and records that were missing important data, he said.

“The established policies and standards, they lack specific guidelines to identify and manage IT assets for the purpose of managing cybersecurity risks,” Pickup said.

The audit makes seven recommendations, all of which have been accepted by the government.

Pickup said he expects the audit’s findings to be discussed by members of the legislature who sit on committees overseeing information technology services.

“These reports are tools for the folks in the legislature to then look to government and hold them accountable on why are these things happening to start with and how does government improve,” he said.

Pickup said his office is also planning a future review of the government’s computer systems during the COVID-19 pandemic because many government employees are working from home.

Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

BC politics

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

Cariboo-Prince George MP Todd Doherty chairs an opioid crisis working group pushing for policies to stop the flow of illicit drugs in Canada. (Victoria Police Department photo)
‘The opioid crisis impacts all of us’: Cariboo Prince Geroge MP Todd Doherty

Todd Doherty is co-chair of Conservative Party caucus opioid crisis working group

Researchers in B.C. say earlier than usual return of bats or dead bats can indicate trouble, such as signs of white-nose syndrome. (Cathy Koot photo)
Public help is essential for monitoring for bat disease

Anyone finding a dead bat is asked to report it to the BC Community Bat Program

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Coastal GasLink begins COVID screening of pipeline workers

Construction is once again ramping up following Northern Health approval of COVID management plan

File photo.
Vanderhoof Hospice Society is providing a peer support program for grieving adults

The program is being held in a partnership with Connexus Community Resources

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

(Black Press file photo)
Child in critical condition, homicide investigators probe incident near Agassiz

The child was transported to hospital but is not expected to survive

Sewage plant in Lower Mainland, operated by Metro Vancouver. (Metro Vancouver screenshot)
‘Poop tracker’ launches as researchers test Lower Mainland sewage water for COVID-19

‘Studying the virus in wastewater allows researchers to look at an entire population…’

Most Read