#CyberFLASH: Canada’s energy sector braces for rising threat from activists

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Canadian security experts are increasing their vigilance against activists’ threats to the country’s energy infrastructure, as civil-liberties advocates worry about the use of improper surveillance on peaceful opponents to major projects.

In what is billed as a training workshop, Carleton University’s Infrastructure Resilience Research Group is playing host to a closed-door conference on Monday and Tuesday for lawyers, police, regulators and industry representatives on “the challenges of dealing with natural resource development projects and activism.”

One of the organizers, professor emeritus Martin Rudner, said there are significant threats from “domestic extremists” to Canada’s energy infrastructure, including pipelines, generating stations and transmission lines. Prof. Rudner is active on several industry-government-academic networks that consult on protection of critical infrastructure, including the energy and utilities-sector network managed by Natural Resources Canada.

“A lot of these concerns are overblown,” Ottawa lawyer Paul Champ said. He is a board member of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association that has alleged RCMP and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) engaged in illegal surveillance of Canadians protesting against Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.

The lawyer acknowledged there can be serious threats to existing critical infrastructure – both physical and cyber, from both domestic sources and foreign ones – and that they must be monitored and dealt with. But he said police and security agencies should not be involved in gathering intelligence against opponents of specific resource projects.

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#CyberFLASH: Anonymous Hacks Mining Company Website to Protest Canada Shielding Corporations

anonymous-analyticsThis isn’t a full-blown data breach, as the hackers have done in the past, but a mere hit&run incident where one of the group’s members wanted to bring attention to Anonymous’ most recent campaign.

The Anonymous hacker(s) had apparently gotten access to the server somehow, and just left an embedded YouTube video of Rick Astley’s song “Never Gonna Give You Up.” The rickrolled company has yet to take down the video before this article was published.

The hack is part of Anonymous #OpCanary operation, which started a few years back, but has never got the public’s attention mainly due to its heavy political tone.

The op is aimed at multinational corporations and the governments that support them, with a heavy focus on the military and mining industries, where most of the human rights abuses take place, so the group claims.

Anonymous has a bone to pick with Canada’s government
BCGold Corp. is yet another mining corporation registered in Canada, a country with which the hacker collective has a bone to pick, according to one of their statements published last year.

“89% of all global mining equity financing is done on Canada’s Toronto Stock Exchange,” the hackers wrote in November last year. “75% of the world’s resource corporations are registered in Canada where the Canadian government and judiciary shield their global mafia from accountability from their human rights abuses and environmental destruction worldwide.”

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#CyberFLASH: The Face of Operation Anon Down

ff_anonymous_fAfter a cagy meal of cheap Chinese — suspiciously eyeing diners showing any interest in our conversation — the man who has been the faceless face of Anonymous during this summer’s campaign of leaked secret government documents opens a fortune cookie: “People find difficult to resist you persuasive manner,” its broken English reads.

“I hope so,” he quips. He wants to persuade, although his tools and tactics are infinitely controversial.

This meeting was inordinately difficult to arrange. It required encrypted communication on various platforms, code words and passwords, trust and promises, travel to an undisclosed location, difficult logistics and strict technical requirements.

The result, however, is the only in-person interview with the spokesman for a cell of a secretive global hacktivist group engaged in a furious protest over July’s fatal RCMP shooting of an Anonymous protester in British Columbia.

The shooting brought a headline-grabbing vendetta: cyber attacks on police websites, demands for charges against officers, threats to reveal private information about investigators, allegations of gross misconduct by a public figure, heated rhetoric on social media and — most notably — the release of actual federal Cabinet secrets.

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#CyberFLASH: Canadian public servant email addresses on hacked Ashley Madison list

cpt104287884.jpg.size.original.promoThe apparent email addresses of hundreds of Canadian federal, provincial and municipal government employees are contained in a massive leaked list of names purported to be users of Ashley Madison, a matchmaking website for cheating spouses.

Ashley Madison does not send verification emails, meaning the accounts might not belong to actual users of the site and could simply be the work of disgruntled tricksters. Further, the data goes back to 2004, suggesting some email addresses may no longer be operational.

In a statement, Toronto-based Ashley Madison’s parent company, Avid Life Media, said it was actively monitoring and investigating the leak to determine the validity of any information posted online.

It did not immediately respond to a question about why people can register for Ashley Madison with unverified or fake email addresses.

Federally, more than 170 addresses associated with the Canadian Armed Forces are on the list, and hundreds more from other departments and agencies, including justice, public works, the Canada Revenue Agency and the RCMP.

At least one MP was registered by name. Several email addresses attached to the Senate were registered although not under any sitting senators’ names.

According to data on AshleyMadison.com, there were more than 55,000 users on the website living in Ottawa in 2013, making it the most infidelity-friendly city in Canada.

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Hacktivists, masked in anonymity, may be Web’s greatest threat

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MONTREAL — Digital dissenters known as hacktivists have developed a track record for disruption and attracting attention and are now considered one of the three main groups of attackers online, says security software company Websense.

Websense prefers not to talk specifically about hacker groups like Anonymous or Lulzsec, but highlighted the general rise of these groups in recent years.

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Canada fears becoming cyber-attack host

OTTAWA – The Public Safety Department worries Canada is becoming a digital launching pad for — not just a target of — malicious cyber-activities, confidential briefing notes reveal.

Traditionally, most cyber-criminals are known for plotting their online schemes in places like Eastern Europe, East Asia and Africa, say departmental notes prepared for a closed-door meeting of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security.

“This may be shifting to more developed countries such as Canada, the U.S. and France — countries with good reputations,” say the notes, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.

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Hackers claim to have tracked down Amanda Todd’s tormentor

An Internet ‘hacktivist’ group has identified an individual it alleges blackmailed Amanda Todd, the B.C. teen who took her own life last week, one month after posting a YouTube video about her struggles with bullying.

In the video, the 15-year-old used flash cards to tell a heartbreaking story about online abuse and bullying that had made her life a living hell. She ended the video with a cry for help: “I have no one. I need someone. My name is Amanda Todd.”

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Anonymous collective the new face of online hacktivism: CSIS report

OTTAWA – Canada’s spy agency says the online collective Anonymous isn’t just a thorn in the side of the powerful, but the new model for digital hacktivism.

Anonymous has carried out cyber-attacks against governments, corporations and others in the name of free speech, Internet liberties and, more so in the last year, anti-capitalist causes.

A newly declassified report from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service says although hacktivism — a blend of hacker smarts and social activism — has existed for years, it is only now that conditions have allowed such groups to bloom.

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