The United States and Canada held talks on Tuesday to explore how the countries could collaborate better to counter cross-border illegal activity, including cyber-crime.
Attending the meeting in Washington DC were Merrick Garland, the attorney general of the United States, and his Canadian counterpart, David Lametti, Canada’s attorney general and minister of justice. In attendance also were Alejandro Mayorkas, the US Secretary of Homeland Security, and Marco Mendicino, Canada’s minister for public safety.
The countries have agreed to work together to improve coordination around reporting of ransomware attacks that can affect cross-border critical infrastructure. They also plan to identify and implement options to strengthen “sectors of our economies that are increasingly targeted by criminals and to implement effective responses.”
“Given the interconnectedness of US and Canadian industry and economies, we affirm our shared commitment to work bilaterally to combat common cyber threats, such as ransomware attacks, and to strengthen critical infrastructure cyber security and resilience,” said the US Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs in a statement regarding the meeting’s outcome.
Another target agreed by the US and Canada was to promote the adoption of best practices on cyber hygiene and provide stakeholders with the tools they need to quickly and effectively report cyber incidents.
Setting their cooperative efforts in the context of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, the two countries said: “We are working vigilantly to protect the cybersecurity of our critical infrastructure sectors given Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine.
“We also reiterated our commitment to work together through the G7+ REPO Task Force to locate and freeze virtual and physical assets of sanctioned Russian individuals and entities, and to forfeit the proceeds of kleptocracy or other crimes.”
Both sides welcomed negotiations for a potential bilateral agreement relating to the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (CLOUD Act). If finalized and approved, the agreement would make it easier for Canadian and US investigative authorities to access communications and associated data in the other country for the purposes of prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution of serious crime, such as terrorism, child sexual exploitation and abuse and cybercrime.