#CyberFLASH: The cyber economy’s soft underbelly

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The Internet is critical to Canadian commerce and to federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments. The federal government alone offers more than 130 commonly used services online, including tax returns, Employment Insurance applications and student loan applications.

It is no longer simply an easy way to send personal messages.

According to Public Safety Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy:

• 74 per cent of Canadian households had paid Internet service in 2008;

• 59 per cent of personal tax filings were electronic in 2008;

• 67 per cent of Canadians banked online in 2009;

• Canadian online sales in 2007 were estimated at $62.7 billion; and

• In 2007, 87 per cent of Canadian businesses used the Internet.

The identity protection and fraud detection service, CSID, of Austin, Tex., reported that in 2011, “more than 174 million records (were) compromised in data breaches, costing businesses US $5.5 million per breach in monetary damages.”

Tim Page, then-president of the Canadian Association for Defence and Security Industries (now VP of Seaspan), told attendees at last fall’s Security Technology Conference in Ottawa that there are “serious risks to public safety, threats to our ecosystems, traditional way of life and national security challenges abound and are growing in complexity, impact and cost.”

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