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Canada

Canadians warned ‘troll farms’ could influence online debate before federal election: report

WATCH: Cybersecurity report shows threat to businesses, elections

OTTAWA – Canada’s federal cybersecurity centre says foreign countries are very likely to try to advance their agendas in 2019 – a general election year – by manipulating Canadian opinion with malicious online activity.

In a report today, the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security warns that state-sponsored players can conduct sophisticated influence operations by posing as regular people.

READ MORE: China demands Canada release Huawei executive arrested at Vancouver airport

The centre says these online actors create social media accounts or hijack existing profiles, and even set up “troll farms” of employees paid to comment on traditional media websites, social media and anywhere else they can reach their target audience.

The new centre, a wing of the Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s electronic spy agency, brings together experts from the CSE, Public Safety and Shared Services.

WATCH: Cybersecurity officials discuss how they’re defending 2019 election

Cybersecurity officials discuss how they’re defending 2019 election
Cybersecurity officials discuss how they’re defending 2019 election
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The CSE warned in a report for the Liberal government last year that cyberthreat activity against the democratic process is increasing around the world, and Canada is not immune.

Mounting evidence has since pointed to online Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

WATCH: Former Russian troll warns Canada should be ‘on guard’ ahead of 2019 election

Former Russian troll warns Canada should be ‘on guard’ ahead of 2019 election
Former Russian troll warns Canada should be ‘on guard’ ahead of 2019 election
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