#CyberFLASH: What it takes to fight a global war against cyber criminals


On one sunny day in early June, Ottawa had more than 4,200 computers infected with a botnet called ZeroAccess. Another 2,244 were infected with Citadel, software that steals bank account information. The computer worm Conficker was working its way into 841 computers in the city, while 213 were running ransomware called Gameover Zeus, software that allows a hacker to basically blackmail a computer user by locking the user out of their machines unless they pay a fee.

In a city of a million people, the low number of infected systems was impressive, especially compared with more populous areas in Asia, which were reporting millions upon millions of infected systems that day. Canada in general fares pretty well: Fewer than 14 per cent of computers in the country reported the need to block the installation of malicious software during the last three months of 2013, while in places such as India and Vietnam as many as 50 per cent of computers do.

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