Research Security Information Update – July 2022

The Research Security Update is an open-source collation of information, produced by Public Safety Canada’s Safeguarding Science team, on issues considered relevant to Canada’s broad research security interests.

Notable developments and media coverage on research security

January 2022
CBC News: The National discussed allegations that the Chinese government is using scientists and researchers in Western countries as spies, as well as concerns that Canada is not doing enough to prevent industrial espionage.
January 2022
The White House provided details on President Biden’s 120-day plan to apply additional security safeguards to the research funding application system.
January 2022
The Congressional Subcommittee on Research Security released a National Security Strategy on supported research and development.
January 2022 discussed updated guidance from U.S. President Biden regarding how and when American scientists should report any collaborative work with Chinese counterparts.
Janvier 2022
An article from L’UsineDigitale (in French only) describes the potential uses of quantum technology in the field of cybersecurity and cryptology.
December 2021
This article discusses the ramifications of a Harvard nanoscientist found guilty of lying about financial ties to Chinese university. He was not found guilty of espionage or theft of intellectual property, but of lying to federal agents and failing to report foreign income and assets on his tax filings. The article discusses the ramifications of the verdict as American researchers contemplate next steps for international research partnerships.
December 2021
An Atlantic article depicted the struggles of pushing talent away from groundbreaking scientific research in the name of security.

Addressing the quantum threat to cyber security

Quantum computers are based on the properties of quantum physics and can do computations that are impossible for today’s computers. Experts suggest that quantum computing might be developed by 2030. This threatens data in transit as information with a long lifespan could be collected, stored, then read in the future using a quantum computer. Once a large quantum computer is built, it will be too late to rely upon traditional cryptography to ensure the integrity of software.

Cryptography protects confidentiality. Generally, cryptography used to protect data at rest is not threatened by a quantum computer, but if this data is network accessible (i.e. in the cloud), it could be at risk while in transit or accessible once a large quantum computer is available. To combat this, new cryptographic components that are not vulnerable to quantum computers are being designed. The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS), Canadian industry and academics are all participating in international efforts.

To manage the risk at your institution, the CCCS recommends that you evaluate the sensitivity of your organization’s information and determine its lifespan to identify information that may be at risk. Additionally, review your IT lifecycle management plan and budget for potentially significant software and hardware updates. It is recommended to determine how and when you will be able to deploy quantum-safe cryptography in your lifecycle plan.

Want to learn more?

CIFAR Virtual Talks: Is the future of computing quantum?
Online event hosted by CIFAR
July 20, 2021

This event provided the audience with insight into the world of quantum computing. For decades, the word “quantum” has been nearly synonymous with “magic” in the popular imagination. With recent advances and breakthroughs in quantum technology, real applications of quantum computers feel closer than ever. Will quantum technologies live up to their potential? The event featured CIFAR Associate Fellow Dave Bacon (IonQ) and CIFAR Fellow Stephanie Simmons (Simon Fraser University).

How Canada Can Prepare for the Quantum Threat
by Nina Bindel and Kristen Csenkey, Canadian Global Affairs Institute Fellows
June 2021

This report provides a brief overview of how Five Eyes countries are preparing for the threat potential of quantum computers. It recommends that Canada start preparing to replace all current public-key crypto with quantum-safe algorithms, and that greater transparency could enable a faster and more secure post-quantum standardization and transition process., Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Canada’s Defense Strategy Falls Behind in the Quantum Age
by Tina Dekker, Florian Martin-Bariteau
April 2021

This article provides a detailed overview of the current state of Canada’s quantum capabilities, considers where we want to advance on a priority basis, and suggests further areas of consideration and collaboration. It pushes for a more concrete roadmap to be developed that will encompass quantum technology holistically.

Preparing Your Organization for The Quantum Threat to Cryptography
Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
February 2021

Cryptography is the study and use of techniques designed to keep information hidden and secure. Currently, Canada’s cryptography measures are comparable with other leading nations. However, the development of quantum computing has put added emphasis on the need to advance our own preparations for the quantum age, since quantum computing has the potential to circumvent many existing cryptographical methods.

Addressing the Quantum Computing Threat to Cryptography
Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
May 2020

This articles provides a brief overview of the cyber security threats to quantum computing. It delves into a discussion of information lifespan, the future of technology, and provides a brief introduction to how to manage the risk.

Cyber security insight

Canadian research institutions heavily rely on the cyber infrastructure, whether at the institutional or national level, to conduct research, store data, and run experiments. This reliance, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, has increased the vulnerability of Canadian institutions, that are at a higher risk of losing valuable research through cyber-attacks or attempts by threat actors to infiltrate Canadian cyber infrastructure. You can help protect your research and your institution by considering the following tips provided by the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.

What’s next?

Below you will find a list of events, podcasts, reports and more, which are meant to highlight and share a diverse array of perspectives on research security matters.

Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity
This task force report aims to provide a solid European policy framework for AI by addressing ethical, market and governance challenges posed by the intersection of AI and cybersecurity. The report provides 17 recommendations for policymakers, almost all of which are applicable in the Canadian context. Some of the new threats which could emerge at the intersection of AI and cyber are examined in detail, including deep-fakes., Centre for European Policy Studies.

The Dual Use Challenge of Open-Source Intelligence
The internet has paved the way for investigative techniques such as those employed by Bellingcat. But what happens if these – or other cyber technologies and applications – are applied by autocrats? Centre for International Governance Innovation.

Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit
The Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Summit brought together technology leaders and top policymakers to explore the state of artificial intelligence and discuss the implications of the AI revolution on global security. Center for a New American Security.

The Artificial Intelligence Revolution
The Hoover Institution Press presents a discussion of the Artificial Intelligence Revolution with guest speakers Yll Bajraktari and Anshu Roy.

CyberSec&AI Connected 2022 - Autumn 2022
This is the annual international conference for AI, cybersecurity, and privacy experts from industry and academia. Panelists and lectures will aim to explore the intersection of digital privacy, cybersecurity and AI.

International Conference on Cyber Security - September 2022
This is a federated organization dedicated to bringing together a significant number of diverse scholarly events for presentation within the conference program. ICCSAI aims to bring together leading academic scientists, researchers and research scholars to exchange and share their experiences and research results on all aspects of Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence. World Academy of Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Want to know more?

Need help or have questions? Want to stay up to date and find out more on all things research security? Please send us an email at or visit our Safeguarding Science webpage.

Public Safety Canada aims to continually publish useful information to the Canadian research community on relevant research security issues. We would like to hear from you! Are there specific products, tools, or information you would like to receive (i.e. on emerging risks/threats, research security case studies, statistics, guidance on key issues, security best practices, etc.)? Please send any suggestions you have to the Safeguarding Science email listed above.

Want to report an incident?

RCMP – National Security Information Network (NSIN)

Reporting of unrecognized persons, suspicious incidents, or computer-related activities.
Phone: 1-800-420-5805

Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS)

Reporting of potential non-urgent national security threats or suspicious activities.
Phone: 1-800-267-7685

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (CCCS)

The CCCS Contact Centre is the single point of contact for questions on Cyber Security.
Phone : 1-833-CYBER-88

Date modified: