#CyberFLASH: Ransomware: How do you avoid getting caught in the trap?

10712553From universities and hospitals to small charities and businesses, criminals using ransomware aren’t picky about targets — as long as they pay.

Ransomware is the name given to software or computer viruses that spread by email attachments or compromised websites and encrypt the host computer’s files, holding them hostage until the perpetrators are paid.

So what can you do to avoid having your data held hostage? And if it happens, what can you do to protect yourself?

Avner Levin, the director of Ryerson University’s privacy and cyber crime institute, was on CBC Radio’s Ontario Today at 12 p.m. ET to discuss how ransomware works and how to avoid it.

He later took part in a live chat to answer questions about how to avoid having your computer or business held hostage by ransomware.

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#CyberFLASH: Global cyberbullying target of Five Eyes meeting hosted by Canada

justice-minister-peter-mackay-2Canada has formed an international working group with its Five Eyes intelligence allies in an attempt to combat the cross-border threats posed by cyberbullying, Justice Minister Peter MacKay revealed Monday.

MacKay said Canada hosted a meeting of the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing community — which includes the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand — in the last two weeks.

The minister said a working group has been established that will produce a report on how to combat threats posed by international online predators who threaten young people.

“We just recently hosted, in the last 10 days, a meeting here in Ottawa specific to that question of how we do a better job of sharing our efforts, sharing our information,” MacKay said.

“The working group is from the Five Eyes.”

Canada’s new cyberbully law went on the books late last year, giving police more online surveillance powers.

Canada studying UK model

MacKay said more needs to be done to deal with the fact that online predators can strike at young people from foreign countries.

One tragic example was a criminal case that came to an end last fall when a former Minnesota nurse was sentenced to three years in prison after using the Internet to persuade an 18-year-old Canadian woman and a 32-year-old English man to commit suicide.

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Anonymous outs Edmonton men allegedly luring girls


EDMONTON — Cops are cautioning the public against any kind of vigilante action against a pair of Edmonton men who were outed by an Internet video for allegedly trying to lure 14-year-old girls for sex.

Bob Andrews, the head of ALERT’s Integrated Child Exploitation Unit, said investigators were first contacted by the group Anonymous last month.

A video appeared Saturday by a group claiming to be Anonymous, who said they’ve encountered numerous Edmontonians who have tried to make plans for sex with underage boys and girls via various social networking websites.

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Anonymous arrested? Six nabbed for cyber attacks on Quebec websites


MONTREAL QC — Six people have been arrested amid a rash of cyber-attacks launched by the activist group Anonymous against Quebec government websites.

The arrests were made in different Quebec cities in an operation that involved five police forces — the RCMP, the Sureté du Quebec and three municipal forces.

Those arrested faced a variety of charges Tuesday, including mischief, conspiracy and unlawful use of a computer. Three of them were minors. The arrests took place in Rimouski, Sherbrooke, Forestville, Montreal and Longueuil, Que.

Police offered no other clues about the case, other than to say the attacks were on “public” and “para-public” websites. They said they did not want to jeopardize their ongoing case by sharing details, such as whether those arrested operated under the “Anonymous” name.

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