#CyberFLASH: New RCMP cyber unit to target global hackers, online scammers

Digital Life Tech Tips Double Layer PasswordsThe move comes as part of a five-year policing strategy unveiled today in Ottawa.

“What has been missing is a directed focus and effort towards cybercrime,” RCMP Chief Supt. Jeff Adam told CBC News in an interview at the force’s highly restricted data forensics labs, part of its technical investigations services branch in Ottawa.

“As cybercrime has evolved over time, and the technology has evolved very quickly … we’ve been kind of left doing it ad hoc, unformalized, unplanned,” he said.

The RCMP’s official Cybercrime Strategy promises “new policing measures to keep pace in a digital era.”

It’s an acknowledgement the Mounties, and indeed police around the globe, are struggling to deal with a vast array of emerging online crimes ranging from petty email scams and child exploitation to national security threats and highly organized hacking operations.

‘Fundamental change’

The RCMP will spend $30.5 million over the next five years to assign 40 staff, both police officers and civilians, to a new, dedicated investigations unit. It will include intelligence analysts, trainers, highly specialized technical staff and more than two dozens investigators from its national division.

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#CyberFLASH: How Chinese hacking felled telecommunication giant Nortel

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Cyber security adviser Brian Shields sensed something was wrong when he received a message from his manager at North American telecommunications giant Nortel.

An employee in the United Kingdom office had detected that a senior executive in Canada, Brian McFadden, had downloaded the Brit’s work documents from the company server.

It was odd, because the documents were irrelevant to McFadden’s responsibilities. The British employee sent an email to McFadden asking why he wanted the documents.

An email shot back from McFadden: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

As Nortel’s senior adviser for systems security, Shields was called in to investigate. “When I first started looking into it I found that the access was not internal,” says Shields.

“The documents downloaded to the executive’s computer in Ottawa were done through remote access from a site over in China.”

Shields quickly realised that Nortel, at the time one of the world’s biggest ­commercial telecommunications equipment manufacturers, had been the victim of hacking. He traced most of the activity back to Shanghai. It was early 2004.

Upon further investigation, Shields discovered that seven staff accounts had been compromised via remote access.

One of the breached accounts belonged to the company’s then chief executive Frank Dunn.

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#CyberFLASH: Smartphones becoming prime target for criminal hackers

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Cybersecurity analysts say nefarious forces are increasingly turning their attention to the most personal computer you own, the one you carry everywhere and trust with some of your most sensitive secrets – your smartphone.

 “Over the last two years or so, we have seen a huge influx” in the number of hackers targeting smartphones, says Roel Schouwenberg, principal security researcher for Kaspersky Labs, a well-known anti-virus firm. 

 Because these devices carry so much of our personal and financial information nowadays – to the point where many of us treat them like digital wallets – hackers are finding ways to gain unauthorized access to them.

 Most phones have little in the way of security and anti-malware protection. Given the right opportunity, malware creators can breach our email and contacts lists, monitor highly personal communications and capture vital data such as the password we type into our mobile banking app.

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#CyberFLASH: Canada – Canadian Ministers And Chinese Defence Chief Have Hush-Hush Meeting

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OTTAWA – China’s defence minister made an unheralded stop in Canada last week, meeting with two Harper government ministers amid rising tensions over the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

Another issue of importance has been the increased use of cyberattacks on western commercial, industrial and government targets. Last winter, a U.S.-based cybersecurity firm, Mandiant, accused a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai of mounting hundreds of online attacks against American companies.

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#CyberFLASH: Canada – Hackers leak data in preparation for Sept. 11 cyber attack

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The hacktivists – said to be based in Spain, Canada and Brazil – have taken credit on Twitter for several attacks within the past week, including leaking 500 Canadian email addresses, accessing Israel police station data, hacking 5,000 Israeli bank accounts and acquiring thousands of Israeli credit cards.

The biggest hit came on Monday, when AnonGhost claims to have leaked personal information on more than 165,000 Israelis by attacking several websites in short order. One breached website, which offered web-hosting services, provided names, phone numbers, emails addresses and passwords. 

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Canadian companies open to cyber attacks, says federal agency

CyberwarriorsGaps in the cyber security efforts of Canadian corporations could be leaving them open to sophisticated attacks by hackers, records show.

 

 

The current situation is that there are an increasing number of new software vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain access to companies’ networks,” reads a July 2012 memo obtained from Public Safety Canada under the Access to Information Act.

“The scale of the problem is significant. The cost of maintaining a highly secure network is high for each company, and they may not be willing to make that investment.”

Most Canadian critical infrastructure assets — including electricity distribution networks, banking systems, transportation systems and telecommunications networks — are owned by the private sector or by provincial governments.

Their smooth operation is integral to the country’s economic, political and social well-being, according to a report by the Auditor General of Canada published last fall.

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Cybersecurity in Canada: Finance industry, government seek ways to share data

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TORONTO – More cooperation with government intelligence agencies would improve the Canadian financial industry’s cyber security capabilities, regulatory and industry experts told Thomson Reuters. Financial institutions have deployed defences, but face considerable threat from cyber-criminals intent on committing fraud, stealing sensitive information, and disrupting their networks.

To mitigate those risks, security and financial experts have called for an enhanced information-sharing system that would allow firms to provide detailed cyber-attack statistics to the government in exchange for intelligence on emergent threats and mitigation strategies. To date, attempts to establish such a system have had little result. 

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Cybercrime-as-a-service on the rise: McAfee

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Who’s going to be the next cyber attacker your organization will be guarding against?

It could be a state-backed hacking group, a cyber syndicate or a cyber activist. But there’s also a good chance that it could even be a non-tech-savvy individual whose hacking skills are limited to downloading apps from the Web, according to Raj Samani, chief technology officer of McAfee Inc. for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

“It’s gotten to the point where any person, without any IT skills whatsoever, could simply purchase a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) from Google and launch it against any target,” said Samani, who co-authored the whitepaper report Cybercrime Exposed: Cybercrime-as-a-Service with McAfee Labs senior research engineer Francois Paget. “When we were writing this paper, we knew it wasn’t new, but once we got started, we couldn’t believe the breadth of service available on the Web.”

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