#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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#CyberFLASH: Canadian retailers need to shake their computer security complacency

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The term “buyer beware” used to mean that you might regret the purchase you were about to make. Now it basically serves as a warning that no matter where you shop, your personal data may be at serious risk.

This week, following the recent high-profile computer security attacks at Target, Nordstrom and other major U.S. merchants, the Retail Industry Leaders Alliance based in Arlington, Va. announced the formation of a council that will focus on cybersecurity issues and a push for better laws to notify consumers when an attack occurs. In Canada, meanwhile, major Canadian retailers announced … nothing.

Part of the problem, according to Toronto-based security and privacy consultant Claudiu Popa, is that Canada has been ahead of the U.S. in some areas, like our adoption of chip and PIN technology on credit and debit cards. The U.S. is still largely a mag-stripe market (though the retail association hopes to change that soon).

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Nearly half of Canadians report hacker attacks

OTTAWA — Whether it’s by viruses, worms or phishing emails and texts, nearly half of all Canadians have been targeted by hackers at some point over the past year, according to a new report from an anti-virus software company.

The 2012 Norton Cyber-crime Report, released Wednesday, says more than 46 per cent of Canadians have re-ported attempts by hackers to try to obtain personal data over the past 12 months.

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Beware of “Surveillance by Design”, Ontario’s Information & Privacy Commissioner warns of Bill C-30

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Read more about Beware of “Surveillance by Design:” Standing Up for Freedom and Privacy here

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