#CyberFLASH: John Baird fears Sony hacking is just tip of the iceberg

North Koreas Kims Photo GalleryForeign Affairs Minister John Baird said he is “deeply concerned” about a cyber-attack that prompted Sony to shelve the Seth Rogen film “The Interview” indefinitely, and fears similar attacks will occur in the future.

“This is a huge issue of freedom of expression and we’re deeply concerned about it,” Baird told reporters in Ottawa on Friday as he announced another round of sanctions against Russia. “Now that it’s happened once, the fear I have is ‘What next?’ ”

But he stopped short of echoing U.S. President Barack Obama’s view that Sony erred by cancelling plans to release the movie later this month.

“Obviously the implied threats that we’ve seen are not to be taken lightly,” Baird said. “I’ll leave it for others to analyze Sony’s decisions.

“The Interview” stars Vancouver-born Rogen and co-star James Franco playing two characters tasked with assassinating North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un.

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#CyberFLASH: Hacker threatens ‘bombshell’ after Ottawa city websites attacked

n-ONLINE-SPYING-CANADA-large570A hacker who took down several official websites in Ottawa during the weekend, including those of the municipality and the local police, threatened further actions Monday.

The pressure tactics were unleashed as part of a campaign in support of an Ottawa-area teenaged boy who was arrested last spring with 60 criminal charges alleging that he made hoax calls to police across North America.

A hacker, who goes by the moniker Aerith, is now saying that there is evidence the teen was framed.

“We are preparing a huge ‘bombshell’ right now that we will release in the next few hours, let’s just say – it will discredit the police forces … ,” Aerith said in an e-mail on Monday morning after being contacted by The Globe and Mail.

The website of the Ottawa police remained disabled Monday. “Our systems remain secure,” the Ottawa police said via Twitter.

The city of Ottawa’s website was also inaccessible for part of the day. On its Twitter account, the city said it was “experiencing some technical issues.”

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#CyberFLASH: Don’t buy these cheap tablets rife with security problems

tablets-security-featured-webThis weekend’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals will tempt many Canadians to add to their technology collection with slashed prices on tablets – but what compromises might you be making to save a few bucks?

Mobile security vendor Bluebox Security embarked upon its own shopping frenzy and bought up more than a dozen Android tablets from major retailers. The results are worrying:

“What we found was shocking,” writes Andrew Blaich, lead security analyst at Bluebox. “Most of the devices ship with vulnerabilities and misconfigurations; a few even include security backdoors.”

Here’s a few highlights of what the San Francisco-based company found in its research:

  • The worst offender, which had so many discrepancies, issues, and a back door that BlueBox didn’t even attempt to score it, was the DigiLand tablet from BestBuy. Thankfully, the device doesn’t appear to be available at BestBuy Canada’s website.
  • Overall tablets that were well below the $100 mark were deemed only “semi-trustable” at best. Some, were labelled as downright “suspicious.”
  • Your best bets for tablet deals look to be the HTC Nexus 9, which sells for $399.99 USD and it given a perfect trust score. If you really want a bargain, Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 Lite is $99.99 and gets a trust score of 8.6 out of 10.

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#CyberFLASH: Cyber security a non-stop headache for federal government, conference hears

1029 GTECEvery successful cyber attack on government networks last year could have been avoided if federal computers had been properly patched and were up to date with the latest available software, says one of the people charged with defending Canada against hackers.

Scott Jones, the director general of cyber defence at the Communications Security Establishment Canada, took to the stage Wednesday at the Government Technology Exhibition and Conference in Ottawa.

He said the stories everyone has heard of hackers getting more and more sophisticated in the way they worm their way into government systems are all true. However, he said, one of the biggest issues facing government, and other organizations, remains keeping up with updates to their computing infrastructure.

Among the challenges Jones faces with the Government of Canada systems is in testing software patches before they are rolled out. It could lead to entire networks being pulled off-line until a vulnerability can be addressed in a secure fashion, he said.

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$20m to fund cyber strategies

images-101Stating that “sophisticated threats demand sophisticated responses,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay has committed $20 million to fund projects aimed at making Canada safer from cyber attacks.

Among the 26 science and technology initiatives to receive funding is a joint government-academic project to develop capabilities to “identify, locate and mitigate potential wireless security threats,” strengthen Canada’s digital infrastructure, and improve responses to cyber threats. The partners in the project are Defence Research and Development Canada, Laval University in Quebec City and the University of Western Ontario in London.

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