OTTAWA—The former chief of Canada’s electronic spies is calling on Ottawa to develop an arsenal of cyber weapons — and give defence and intelligence agencies the green light to attack.

“Cyber war” is still in its infancy, John Adams argued in a July paper, but computer viruses could soon cause as much damage to a country as conventional bombs and bullets.

Canada has traditionally — at least officially — focused cyber efforts on defending against espionage and attacks from both hostile states and hackers.

But Adams, the chief of the Communications Security Establishment between 2005 and 2012, is calling on the federal Liberals to rethink that approach and allow Canada to go on the offensive.

“Some people think that cyber war will sooner or later replace kinetic war. More frequently, cyber war is presented as a new kind of war that is cheaper, cleaner and less risky for an attacker than other forms of armed conflict,” Adams wrote in a paper published by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

Source: Former electronic spy chief urges Ottawa to prepare for ‘cyber war’