#CyberFLASH: Passwords often a ‘weak point’ for consumers in cyber security

image-6TORONTO — This month, the University of Calgary paid $20,000 to regain access to its email system after a so-called ransomware cyber-attack.

A year ago, Ashley Madison, a website that facilitates extra-marital affairs, lost customers’ personal information to hackers, who have also recently accessed personal information held by online retailer eBay, Sony and LinkedIn, among others.

Cyber-security experts say businesses of all sizes can be vulnerable to attacks and hackers can manoeuvre their way into any site if the proper controls aren’t in place to detect their snooping.

But as cyber-attacks increase in frequency, there are measures consumers can take to protect the information they hand over to companies online.

“Cyber-risk is becoming a huge business problem,” said Rocco Galletto, leader of managed security services at Deloitte Canada from the company’s Toronto Cyber Intelligence Centre, which helps clients thwart and respond to cyber attacks.

The centre responds to about 1,000 cases annually, he said, though each one isn’t necessarily a full-fledged attack, but could be a lower-priority vulnerability being exposed.

“Consumers are concerned. Organizations are concerned,” he said.

BlackBerry, the Canadian mobile and software company, also entered the cyber-security service business this year, citing a burgeoning industry expected to grow to $23 billion a year by 2019.

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