#CyberFLASH: Canada ‘very concerned’ about Russian hacking

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Montreal (AFP) – Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion said Monday he is very concerned about possible Russian hacking, following US accusations against the Kremlin.

The nation’s top diplomat did not comment on the specific US allegations, but said he is “very concerned” about the possibility of Canada becoming the next target of Russian cyber attacks, and called for a “safe and free cyberspace.”

Dion, however, offered no evidence of a specific threat.

His comments follow Washington’s accusations that the Kremlin had tried to interfere in the 20016 White House race through cyber attacks on American political institutions, which Russia has rejected.

Canadian Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said the government is reviewing its cyber capabilities to protect critical systems, such as banking, noting that “there have been incidents in Canada in the past where systems have been breached.”

“Canadians per capita are online more than any other population group in the world,” he said. “So this is important to Canadians.”

Canada’s ties with Russia became strained during the previous administration, with Ottawa criticizing the Kremlin over its support for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and its annexation of Crimea.

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#CyberFLASH: Canada’s secret bid to stop Russian hackers

n-ONLINE-SPYING-largeCanada last year quietly funded a $3.7-million program to provide cybersecurity training and software to Ukraine in response to cyberattacks by hackers linked to pro-Russian organizations, and possibly to the Russian government itself.

The contract was awarded to Arcadia Labs Inc., also known as Arc4dia, a cybersecurity company whose executive team includes at least two former employees of Communications Security Establishment, Canada’s signals intelligence agency, and two veterans of the Canadian Forces.

The government revealed the contract in a quarterly disclosure of grants and contribution awards over $25,000, but never publicly announced it due to what Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for Global Affairs Canada, described in an email as “security concerns.”

“Due to the hostile cyberenvironment in Ukraine, the disclosure of the specific training and tools would jeopardize the effectiveness of the project activities, and results achieved to date, and the government of Ukraine would be at even greater risk of more sophisticated cyberattacks and other hostile actions,” she wrote in a separate email.

Mills said security concerns also prevented her from divulging details of the project, though she and a different spokeswoman later provided broad outlines. The project, said Rachna Mishra, was funded through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development’s Global Peace and Security Fund and stemmed from an unsolicited proposal by Arc4dia. As such, there was no requirement for a competitive bidding process, wrote Mishra. (The Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development was renamed Global Affairs Canada by Canada’s new Liberal government after the federal election last October.)

Documents released under the Access to Information Act describe the project’s purpose as helping Ukraine counter “foreign and criminal cyberactions,” suggesting some of the attacks originate in Russia—which in 2014 invaded and then annexed the Ukrainian region of Crimea, and since then has also covertly invaded and backed an insurgency in eastern Ukraine.

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#CyberFLASH: Russian hackers accused of stealing billions of IDs

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VANCOUVER – Should you be concerned about thieves getting your credit card information or using your identity?

Many people are after Russian hackers stole more than 1.2 billion user names and passwords from websites around the globe.

It is being called the largest data breach in history.

Hold Security says more than 420,000 websites, including many leaders in industries around the world were hit.

It says the hackers not only targeted the companies but also every site that their victims visited.

Raymond Yu with BCIT’s School of Computing and Academic Studies explains how so many people were affected.

“When they hack into a user account within the user account, you may also have other contacts you see, sort of like a chain reaction so the magnitude is actually quite large.”

Victor Beitner, President of Cyber Security Canada says thieves can do a lot with this information.

“You could lose your identity. They can try these passwords in social media accounts like your Apple account. They can purchase gift cards. There is a lot of online services that allow you to login with one user name and password.”

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