#CyberFLASH: IoT holds great promise for cities, but don’t spy on people

IMG_0397-e1449500476571-620x250Today’s urban centres face myriad problems; strained and dated infrastructure (roads, sewers, and transportation, electrical and communication systems) are further taxed by the escalating demands placed upon them by ever-increasing populations. While cities are looking to deliver more services and new, better infrastructure, they are constrained by limited funding and dealing with citizens who “want what they want, and they want it now.”

That’s according to Kathryn Willson, program director of Microsoft CityNext. Speaking at Technicity, an event co-hosted by IT World Canada and the City of Toronto last week, Willson provided concrete examples of how the Internet of Things has been put to use in cities around the globe – reducing dependencies on resources, creating efficiencies, and saving costs. IoT is providing viable, sustainable solutions that will help municipalities meet the needs of its citizens – and save the environment, she told the audience.

Take for example the city of Helsinki, Finland, which reduced the fuel consumption of its bus network. While GPS devices were already in use and the city had a good handle on where buses were, city officials sought to answer the question of ‘how’ buses were moving, looking specifically for areas of high-fuel consumption. Additional sensors were added to the accelerators, brakes and inside the engine compartment to measure temperature. Two actionable items were identified from the data, the first being a driver-training program. The second item related to construction of roads. The outcome: Helsinki reduced fuel consumption of its bus fleet by five per cent – saving millions of Euros as a result, she said.

Then there’s Paris, which has an electric-car-sharing program with 4,300 charging stations and 2,300 vehicles. People in the community subscribe to this service. The city’s goal is to have 25,000 gasoline cars off the road by 2023, reducing carbon emissions by 75,0000 metric tons. In addition, with improved customer satisfaction and fewer cars on the road, this new optional mode of transportation is benefitting citizens as owning a car in Paris costs about 5,000 Euros a year, while this program costs about 900 Euros.

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#CyberFLASH: Anonymous denies involvement in hacks

fingerprint-on-keyboardThe vigilante hacker collective known as Anonymous has denied involvement in a series of cyber attacks on police, court and government institutions, apparently motivated by the supposed wrongful arrest of a Barrhaven teen.

A Twitter user named Aerith has claimed responsibility, while releasing a series of statements to the press and signing off each time with the Anonymous trademark, “We are Anonymous, We are Legion, We do not forgive, We do not forget, Expect Us.” After the first series of cyber attacks took down the City of Ottawa website, the sign-off was altered to read, “You should have expected us.”

But late Saturday, Twitter user @AnonQC — attached to the Quebec chapter of Anonymous — denied this is one of the group’s operations. It suggests a splinter group of hackers known as Commander X might be behind the operation.

“Op that comes from nowhere no one heard about? Sounds like Commander X,” wrote AnonQC to the Sun, saying that “if you ever come across something that claims (to be) speaking in the name of Anon, it’s false… even your mom could have sent that (press release).”

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#CyberFLASH: Privacy breach: Six GTA hospitals gave patient info to photographers


Six GTA hospitals compromised their patients’ personal health data by routinely handing it over to baby photographers who paid for access to maternity wards — breaches revealed by extra scrutiny following a major breach at Rouge Valley Health System.

As far back as 2009, Mount Sinai, North York General, St. Joseph’s Health Centre, Humber River, Toronto East General and Rouge Valley Health System hospitals inappropriately gave up the information of tens of thousands of new mothers.

In some cases, the records included the patients’ name, age, length of hospital stay, attending physician, type of diet, reason for admission to hospital, type of delivery and baby’s birth date.

“It wasn’t the proper process. We should have simply been providing the name and room number,” said Elizabeth McCarthy, a spokesperson for North York General.

McCarthy estimated more than 5,000 patients at North York General alone may have been affected between March 2013 and February 2014.

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#CyberFLASH: What Secrets Your Phone Is Sharing About You


Fan Zhang, the owner of Happy Child, a trendy Asian restaurant in downtown Toronto, knows that 170 of his customers went clubbing in November. He knows that 250 went to the gym that month, and that 216 came in from Yorkville, an upscale neighborhood.

And he gleans this information without his customers’ knowledge, or ever asking them a single question.

Mr. Zhang is a client of Turnstyle Solutions Inc., a year-old local company that has placed sensors in about 200 businesses within a 0.7 mile radius in downtown Toronto to track shoppers as they move in the city.

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#CyberFLASH: Ottawa allowed US to spy during G20 Summit in Toronto, Snowden leak reveals

Ottawa allowed U.S. to spy on G20 summit in Toronto, Snowden leak revealsCanada allowed the U.S. National Security Agency to spy on the 2010 G20 meeting in Toronto, according to a CBC report citing a leaked document from Edward Snowden.

On Wednesday eveningCBC reported it had obtained documents outlining “a six-day spying operation by the National Security Agency” that Canada had allowed to be run out of the U.S. embassy in Ottawa.

It is rare for one country to give any ally explicit permission to run spying operations on domestic soil. According to the CBC report, Canada did just that in giving a nod to the secret NSA operation to spy on G20 leaders.

Asked about the allegations, a spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper declined to detail what Canadian authorities knew.

“We do not comment on operational matters related to national security. Our security organizations have independent oversight mechanisms to ensure that they fulfill their mandate in accordance with the law,” said Jason MacDonald, Mr. Harper’s director of communications, in a written statement Wednesday evening.

The NSA is a very close counterpart of the Communications Security Establishment Canada, Ottawa’s eavesdropping agency. A previous Snowden leak suggested that CSEC and the NSA assisted Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters in spying on the previous G20 meeting, which was held in 2009 in London.

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ISC8 to Exhibit at SecTor 2012 Conference in Toronto October 2-3 With NEC Canada

COSTA MESA, CA — (Marketwire) — 10/01/12 — ISC8® Inc. (OTCBB: ISCI) (“ISC8″ or the “Company”), today announced that it will introduce its Cyber family of “Big Data” and Signature-less cybersecurity solutions at the Security Education Conference Toronto (SecTor) taking place October 2-3. Considered Canada’s premier IT Security Event, the SecTor Conference will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in downtown Toronto. ISC8 will be partnering with NEC Canada at the conference and exhibiting in booth 405.

The Cyber team of ISC8 will introduce Cyber adAPT, a platform which implements a sensor-based, near real-time forensics technology that identifies advanced malware ahead of perimeter solutions before devastating damage or critical data theft can occur. This technology provides network owners with a highly extensible core-based solution (10 Gb and above) to defend against Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) and other next generation malware. With its recent acquisition of Bivio Networks’ NetFalcon and Network Content Control System (NCCS) solutions, ISC8’s Cyber Division is poised to provide its customers with unprecedented visibility into their networks by combining powerful Big Data analytics, unmatched security intelligence, awareness, and control which will analyze, detect and alert network operators to the most advanced cybersecurity threats.

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