#CyberFLASH: How to teach your kids about online privacy

G3-Nov16-20TORONTO – Forget the spoon, most kids these days are born with a silver smartphone in hand.

Kids these days grow up on the Internet. From a young age many are using devices that give them the web at their fingertips – and while the Internet and social media can be a very beneficial and educational tool for kids, it also leaves them susceptible to many risks.

Teaching kids about online privacy and safety has become a new priority for parents – but many may find it challenging, especially when kids seem to know more about the Internet than their guardians.

So, how do you start the conversation about online privacy in your home?

Don’t be afraid to start young

A five-year-old who is learning how to play games and use age-appropriate websites is too young to learn about online privacy right? Wrong.

As soon as your child starts using the web it’s time to start the conversation.

“It’s a conversation that can start as early as they are able to understand some of the concepts,” said Thierry Plante, media education specialist with MediaSmarts, a Canadian non-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy.

“But, the conversation has to be tailored to their developmental stages.”

For example, kids aged five to seven accept content at face value thanks to their “accepting nature,” according to MediaSmarts.

This means they are vulnerable to online marketers who use things like surveys and contests to collect personal data from users.

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#CyberFLASH: Apple and Google slammed for encrypting data on new phones


Law enforcement agencies in Canada and the U.S. say the introduction of better encryption on new Apple and Android cellphones could put lives at risk, but cryptology experts say they’re exaggerating the threat.

Both Apple and Google announced last week that their new operating systems will be encrypted by default, which will prevent anyone — including police — from accessing data stored on the phones.

On Thursday, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey accused the companies of marketing products that would let people put themselves beyond the law’s reach.

Comey cited child kidnapping and terrorism cases as situations in which quick access by authorities to information on cellphones could save lives.

Comey did not discuss specific cases that would have been more difficult for the FBI to investigate under the new policies, which involve only physical access to a suspect’s or victim’s phone when the owner is unable or unwilling to unlock it for authorities.

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#CyberFLASH: Smartphones becoming prime target for criminal hackers


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: BC’s highest court hears whether police need warrant to search smartphones

image-3Recent changes in the law requiring police to obtain search warrants before examining the contents of smartphones shouldn’t apply to older, less-advanced cellphones, a Crown lawyer told British Columbia’s highest court Tuesday.

The B.C. Court of Appeal is examining whether it was legal for the RCMP to search two BlackBerry phones seized from a suspect following a 2006 kidnapping in Richmond, near Vancouver.

Investigators didn’t get a warrant before sending the phones, which were protected by passwords, to a technical lab in Ottawa. Text messages recovered from the phones contributed to the conviction of Rajan Singh Mann, who is now appealing.

Several recent decisions, including one last year from the Supreme Court of Canada, have concluded police must treat today’s smartphones — which can hold immense amounts of emails, photos and other documents — in the same way as a computer. That would mean investigators would require a search warrant before sifting through the contents of the cellphones.

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Canadian Firm Trains Law Enforcement, Intel Officials To Hack Smartphones


Smartphone vulnerability is a prickly issue, a tradeoff between the alluring conveniences the devices offer and the risks they bring.

The U.S. government is seeking ways to exploit the former without raising the latter, a quest for what’s being called “secure mobile.” The Defense Department is developing a plan to let staffers use smartphones for classified data. The National Security Agency’s Troy Lange told this year’s C4ISR Journal Conference that the agency is improving security on smartphones through specialized apps and encryption software.

But it’s men like Pierre Roberge who may offer the most intriguing insight. Roberge runs Arcadia, a Canadian computer security company with a unique specialty: He teaches intelligence and law enforcement officials worldwide how to hack mobile phones.

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Smartphones, tablets will be targeted by cyber-spies: CSIS report



OTTAWA – Hand-held devices such as smartphones and tablets could be the next frontier for cyber-spies and other rogue players in the digital world, warns a newly declassified assessment from Canada’s intelligence agency.


Opportunities for malicious hackers are growing as computer systems move from the back rooms of corporations and government agencies into the palms and laptops of employees, says the Canadian Security Intelligence Service assessment.


“New cyber attack tools and techniques will be developed in efforts to compromise Canadian public- and private-sector systems,” says the report, perhaps the agency’s most ominous forecast to date on the perils of cyberspace.

“The cyber-related threat environment will evolve and become more complex, creating ever greater challenges for Canada within the context of national security.”

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