#CyberFLASH: Insurance Institute of Canada report encourages p&c organizations to build cyber resiliency; cites business opportunity in expanding coverage

aCanadian property and casualty insurance organizations should bolster the defences of their organizations and those of their clients against cyber threats by developing a culture of cyber security, recommends a new research report issued Tuesday by the Insurance Institute of Canada (IIC).

“Insurance organizations are encouraged to build a corporate culture of cyber security that includes actions to address technological threats and security training for employees,” notes an IIC statement announcing the release of Cyber Risks: Implications for the Insurance Industry in Canada, which assesses cyber risk from the perspective of the Canadian p&c insurance industry.

The research report cites a study by Intel’s McAfee and the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Net Losses: Estimating the Global Cost of Cybercrime, which estimates the global cost of cyber crime in 2013 at US$375 billion to US$575 billion. “The global impact of cyber crime is similar to estimates by the United Nations of the international production, trafficking and sales of illicit drugs (US$400 billion) and the worldwide damage resulting from vehicle collisions (US$518 billion),” states the report.

According to the report, the most common forms of cyber attacks were theft and other data attacks, malware (phishing and pharming) and mechanisms to infect computers (viruses, worms, Trojan horses). The report notes that in 2013, the 3,700 clients of IBM’s Managed Security Services experienced seven or eight cyber incidents each month, on average. About half of those attacks – including scams to steal credit card information, website vandalism, corporate espionage and denial-of-service attacks – were directed at the manufacturing (27%) and financial services (21%) industries.

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#CyberFLASH: NRC hacks a security wake-up call

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It could take a year or more for the Canadian government to recover after its chief information officer confirmed Chinese statesponsored hackers were found to be breaking into the networks of the National Research Council.

This “cyber intrusion’ into the NRC’s computer network was detected and confirmed by Communications Security Establishment Canada, which is now working with IT experts and security partners to create a new secure IT infrastructure for the NRC and the broader federal government.

It could take at least a year, officials say, simply to mitigate the risk of future cyber threats of this nature.

Meanwhile, data security companies working in the private sector are coming forward with suggestions for the NRC specifically, and Canadians in general, on how to better protect themselves online.

CloudMask, for example, is an information technology and security company based in Ottawa. It has received certification for its security technology by Shared Service Canada (SSC) for integration with its security infrastructure.

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#CyberFLASH: Embracing technology safely

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If children are sexually exploited on the Internet by an online predator, the last thing parents should do is blame them, says an educator with the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

Instead, they should embrace the technology and ask their children what they are doing in order to try to protect them from the dangers that lurk inside a public place where there are no boundaries and where no door is completely locked, Noni Classen said in a recent interview.

“Children don’t have the experience, or brain development, to reflect on the potential implications or intentions of the other person luring them on the Internet,” she said.

“They are only looking at it from their own egocentric lens of, ‘What is going to happen to me?’ At that age their brains are wired for social interaction and bonding, and their need for acceptance and belonging is going to drive their needs,” said Classen.

The director of education for the centre told The Telegram, as part of a three-part series on Internet luring, once children are engaged by a sexual predator, some don’t know how to release the grip and they become manipulated.

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CyberFLASH: Phishing scam emails, texts on the rise, surveys show

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Digitally connected young Canadians have become regular targets of phishing scams — fraudsters trying to steal personal information for financial gain, according to a new survey by Visa Canada.

The survey found that 92 per cent of respondents under age 35 confirmed they had been targeted by phishing scams for information such as bank accounts, passwords, card numbers and social insurance numbers.

“They’re online, they’re on their (mobile) phones, they’re very well connected for the most part,” Gord Jamieson, head of risk services at Visa Canada, said of that demographic.

Conversely, scammers usually target seniors with a phone call at home, Jamieson said from Toronto.

Overall, 84 per cent of the Canadians surveyed said they frequently received phishing scams and two-thirds said they would report them if they knew how.

The survey was released Monday in advance of fraud prevention month in March.

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#CyberFLASH: Canadian Trade secrets increasingly under attack from hackers, Foreign Affairs warns

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OTTAWA — Foreign affairs’ networks face daily cyber attacks, with the “range and severity” increasing, raising the risk that secret information about trade negotiations could fall into the wrong hands, the department says.

It’s not only information about trade negotiations that is under attack from cyberspace: sensitive information about foreign policy passes through the worldwide network used by Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) at all hours of the day.

Messages can be sent to any of Canada’s allies, or to one of more than 170 Canadian missions abroad.

In a report to Parliament in early November, the department flagged cyber security as a key risk that it must continue to address, saying the loss of sensitive information “could have significant negative consequences for Canada.”

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NDP call for broader probe into data breaches, identity fraud

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OTTAWA — The opposition New Democrats will ask a Commons committee next week to widen the scope of its investigation into identity fraud and probe the reasons behind thousands of data breaches that have plagued the federal government over the past 10 years.

The NDP argue such a study is needed to see what’s being done to solve “this massive problem,” and reduce the risk that future breaches could lead to someone having their identity stolen.

“We have no idea how many cases of data loss or breach or hacking have resulted in Canadians having their personal information or financial information stolen,” NDP MP Charlie Angus said. “We need to find that out.”

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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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Canada infrastructure vulnerable to cyber attack, RCMP report

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Canada remains vulnerable to cyber attacks by “terrorist groups [which] have expressed interest in developing the capabilities for computer-based attacks against Canada’s critical infrastructure.”

The warning was contained in the annual departmental performance review filed by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police late in 2012.

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