#CyberFLASH: Google and Facebook cases dominate Supreme Court fall session

supreme-courtjpg.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxOTTAWA—Can a Canadian court curb Google search results worldwide if they advertise a Canadian company’s counterfeiting competitor? Does Facebook violate your privacy rights when it uses your name and photo in ads to endorse products after you “liked” a website? What’s the proper test to release a convicted murderer on bail while he appeals a conviction?

They’re just some of the big questions among 29 appeals facing a short-handed Supreme Court of Canada as it starts a busy fall session next month.

Six months after Thomas Cromwell announced his Aug. 31 retirement, no replacement has been chosen. The deadline for a shortlist of interested candidates to be submitted to the prime minister is the end of this week.

But the high court’s work cannot be put on hold. So, seven or eight judges will sit on panels through October and likely into November while the time-consuming vetting and consultation process for a new judge is completed.

At the heart of the Google case is how far Canadian courts can go to uphold the public interest — in this case the intellectual property rights of an industrial design company — as defined and protected by Canadian statutes. The small Burnaby technology business sued a company called Datalink for stealing their company secrets and manufacturing a competing product. It also got an injunction against Google from displaying search results related to the company, which operates from an undisclosed location.

Google said it has nothing to do with the lawsuit but was dragged into it, even though the offending website is still operating and available “using readily available information location tools, such as other search engines and social networking sites.”

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#CyberFLASH: Mississauga man first foreign hacker convicted for stealing trade secrets in the U.S.

xbox.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxWILMINGTON, DEL.—A Canadian member of a hacking ring is believed to be the first foreign hacker ever convicted of stealing trade secrets in the United States after he was sentenced in Delaware to 18 months in prison.

David Pokora of Mississauga, pleaded guilty in September 2014 to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and copyright infringement.

Prosecutors said he was part of a small group of gaming enthusiasts that called itself the Xbox Underground that gained access to a U.S. Army computer network and targeted the gaming world, including stealing information from Microsoft and others.

That information allowed the group to build its own Xbox One game system before it was released and to secure pre-release versions of video games, including “Gears of War 3” and “Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.”

According to prosecutors, the group stole more than $100 million in intellectual property and other proprietary data.

Pokora, 22, pleaded guilty in September to one count of conspiracy to commit fraud and related activity using a computer. Three Americans in the group have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward McAndrew told The News Journal in Delaware that Pokora’s sentence “is a message that will be heard around the world.”

The FBI says the ring stole more than $100 million in intellectual property and other proprietary data. The cyber theft included software and data related to the Xbox One gaming console and Xbox Live online gaming system, popular games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Gears of War 3, and proprietary software used to train military helicopter pilots.

“These were extremely sophisticated hackers. Don’t be fooled by their ages,” McAndrew told reporters earlier this year.

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#CyberFLASH: We’re losing cybersecurity war

imagelack of in-house expertise is holding Canadian IT professionals back from protecting their companies’ data, according to new research.

In a new survey conducted by the Ponemon Institute and Scalar Decisions, about 59 per cent of the 623 Canadian IT professionals said they ponemonfelt they were having trouble keeping their data from falling into the wrong hands, and that they were not “winning the cybersecurity war.” The main reason was a lack of expertise, but respondents also said they needed more staff, better leadership, and more collaboration between departments in their organizations.

Getting these issues resolved is important – among these respondents, confidence in their IT security wasn’t exactly high. According to the report, on average, organizations in Canada run into 34 attacks a year. While only half of respondents believed there’s been an upswing in the number of attacks mounted each year, 73 per cent said they believed the attacks that do occur are becoming more sophisticated. A solid 79 per cent said attacks were increasing in severity.

While respondents were divided as to whether these attacks cut into their ability to compete, with a three-way tie between “yes,” “no,” and “not sure,” what’s clear is that with weakened data security, there is some kind of impact on their bottom line.

Sixty-five per cent of IT professionals said they relied on a “gut feeling” to tell them whether they’d lost the edge to their competitors, while 46 per cent said they noticed if copied products or activities began to appear on the market.

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#CyberFLASH: Ex-Nortel staff reverse engineer gadgets for patent violations

Ottawa-based Rockstar suing Google, Samsung and Huawei

On Oct. 31, the two-year-old company filed lawsuits against global tech giants, including Google, Samsung and Huawei. The suits allege they use technology developed and patented by Canada’s one-time tech darling Nortel, but refuse to pay licensing fees.

Rockstar has the rights to Nortel’s legacy, as it owns 4,000 patents developed in Nortel labs. Rockstar’s main goal is to use those patents to make money for its owners: Apple, Microsoft, Blackberry, Sony and Ericsson.

Critics allege this is a real problem… It’s gumming up the innovation system and it frustrates other companies and stifles innovation and productivity as a whole.” –Jeremy DeBeer, University of Ottawa law professor

Veschi is proud of what he does now, but it’s not the dream he had when he worked for Nortel.

“My hope was to build a business like this and be part of the turnaround for Nortel,” said Veschi, whose job was to make Nortel money by licensing the technology in its patents.

 Read more on CBC.ca

Canada Cyber Espionage: Defence Contractors, Human Rights Groups Attacked

MONTREAL – Small Canadian defence contractors and human rights groups have been targets of cyber espionage, part of a global trend in which attackers try to steal the “crown jewels” of information, says software security company Symantec Corp.

Sensitive emails, intellectual property, research and development, contracts and documents and merger and acquisition information are all targets, Symantec’s Eric Chien said in an interview.

“We would definitely characterize it as cyber espionage, going into companies via the Internet and onto their computers and basically spying for information,” said Chien, technical director, security and response for Symantec.

“What we’re talking about, really, are the crown jewels of any organization.”

No companies were named in the report on cyber espionage titled the “Elderwood Project,” released Friday by California-based Symantec. The name comes from a piece of source code, or programming language, used by the attackers.

Canada had 35 organizations with 82 computers hit by cyber espionage since August 2011, the second most attacks out of 10 countries including Australia, India, United States plus Hong Kong, Symantec said.

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Cyber Espionage: The Chinese Threat, details of Nortel compromise

Details of cyber intrusion and theft of Nortel Network’s intellectual property dating as far back as 2000.

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