Fact sheet for Canadian voters: Online influence activities

Canada is online, as are foreign adversaries

Canada is one of the most connected societies in the world, and every day Canadians use the services of major internet companies to search for news, conduct business, exchange ideas, and build communities online. Foreign adversaries may take advantage of our highly connected society to inject and amplify false and misleading information on online platforms to advance their specific agendas, including undermining Canada’s democratic processes and interfering in elections.

Cyber threat actors can pose as legitimate users online, either through creating new social media accounts or by hijacking existing ones to promote content that they have designed to manipulate Canadians’ opinions. Stolen or modified information can be released at a time and in a way that makes it more compelling or distracting, or creates false or distorted news designed to promote discord within Canada. Using special automated tools and techniques, cyber threat actors can create a false impression that hundreds, thousands, or even millions of people share these manufactured views.

We anticipate that foreign cyber threat actors will engage in this type of activity in the lead up to the Canadian 2019 General Election.

What is the government of Canada doing about these foreign threats?

The Government of Canada has engaged with Elections Canada, provincial and territorial electoral officials, and all political parties represented in the House of Commons to help protect Canada’s democratic process from cyber threats, including foreign cyber interference.

Canadian security and intelligence agencies are working to identify foreign threats, including those who aim to interfere with Canada’s democratic processes. As part of this effort, CSE released its Cyber threats to Canada's democratic process : July 2021 update, to inform Canadians of the threats we face.

What should I be doing as a voter?

The Government of Canada is also working to build a culture of citizen and media literacy in Canada to encourage people to fully participate in our democratic process. False or misleading information on social media platforms, or illegitimate automated phone calls can direct Canadians to incorrect voting stations, provide false information on candidates, and affect your voting process.

There are a few things you can do to help protect yourself online:

  • Always practise good cyber hygiene.
  • Use unique passphrases or complex passwords and two-factor authentication, wherever possible.
  • Be suspicious of unsolicited or unusual emails, and do not click on any links that may be contained in them.
  • Use as many security options (settings) as you can for each social media platform.
  • Remove unused or outdated apps, and update those you do use regularly to ensure the latest security measures are in place.

Everything a Voter Should Know is found on the Elections Canada website. Visit this website to verify information on how, when, and where to vote, and ensure you have the most accurate and up-todate information.

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