Canada emergency response system requires CPR

Published 18 April 2007

So says a review of the recent Cyber Storm exercise; poor communications and data access cited as major concerns

North of the border, things are moving southwards. Three years after the Canadian government launched it National Emergency Response System (NERS), a recent exercise known as Cyber Storm has exposed it as still in the early stages of development. “Conceptual model is widely accepted; the actual system is still nascent,” explained an official with the Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Department. “Conceptual models must be translated into reality.” The recent drill, which took place over five days and simulated the leak of citizem data, an aviation control accident, and an attempted hack of government Web sites, was intended to prove the NERS idea. Sadly, “Cyber Storm did not fully realize the goal of demonstration of the protocols, authorities, notification procedures and co-ordination mechanisms.” Among the specific problems were “insufficient” national and international secure communications channels are, informal coordination with international counterparts, and the inability of officials to access secure documents under emergency conditions.