#CyberFLASH: Act now to protect government departments from cyberattacks


Federal bureaucrats are once again warning that Canada’s government departments and agencies are vulnerable to cyberattacks.

Internal documents obtained by the Star’s Alex Boutilier this past week reveal a number of issues that put Canada at risk.

They include an IT “incident management plan” that is too complex and unclear on who is responsible for what. A lack of co-ordination between that plan and Ottawa’s overall Federal Emergency Response Plan. And a number of departments and agencies failing to use the government’s secure network.

That last point is particularly troubling after Canada accused China last week of carrying out a cyberattack on the National Research Council of Canada. The NRC had reportedly resisted joining the government’s secure Shared Services network, preferring its own.

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#CyberFLASH: Canada – Aggressive defence needed against cyber threats, expert says


OTTAWA — Canada must aggressively deploy its spies and other intelligence capabilities against accelerating cyber threats to the country’s vital digital infrastructure, says a leading expert.

Angela Gendron, writing in the Canadian Foreign Policy Journal, delivers a meaty 11,000-word assessment of the risks and dangers that digital technologies have wrought for the country’s critical infrastructure, from the machinery of government to public utilities, communications, transportation, energy and finance.

Those sectors and systems, once largely reliant on physical defences and geography for protection, are now heavily interconnected, networked and cyber-dependent. Everything from just-in-time supply chains to our water and money supplies are vulnerable to malicious cyber attacks, whether by foreign states, cyber jihadists, criminals or hackers.

With an estimated 60,000 malware variants launched virtually every day, the threat is beginning to rival that of Islamic terrorism, say Gendron and others.

Even though the current priority in Canada is international terrorism, there are growing concerns about the cyber-instrumented attacks attributed to government-backed hackers from China and Russia,” writes the senior fellow at Carleton University’s Canadian Centre of Intelligence and Security Studies.

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Canadian companies open to cyber attacks, says federal agency

CyberwarriorsGaps in the cyber security efforts of Canadian corporations could be leaving them open to sophisticated attacks by hackers, records show.



The current situation is that there are an increasing number of new software vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain access to companies’ networks,” reads a July 2012 memo obtained from Public Safety Canada under the Access to Information Act.

“The scale of the problem is significant. The cost of maintaining a highly secure network is high for each company, and they may not be willing to make that investment.”

Most Canadian critical infrastructure assets — including electricity distribution networks, banking systems, transportation systems and telecommunications networks — are owned by the private sector or by provincial governments.

Their smooth operation is integral to the country’s economic, political and social well-being, according to a report by the Auditor General of Canada published last fall.

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Stopping digital pickpockets: contactless credit cards face fraud risk


MONTREAL – They’re easy to use. But the information inside? Easy to lose.

As more consumers buy things by waving their credit or debit card or cellphone at a payment terminal — no PIN, no signature, no contact — a new frontier has opened up for digital thieves.

With something as simple as a downloaded freeware app, hackers can place their phone near your wallet or phone and get your name and basic card data immediately, without you knowing. 

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Boasting leaves hackers vulnerable, researcher says


MONTREAL — Hackers can send the world into a frenzy with a bogus White House bombing tweet, but a researcher says most of them risk capture because they can’t resist boasting about their exploits.

David Decary-Hetu of the University of Montreal found that most hackers aren’t content to simply do the deed.

“Reputation is an important source of motivation for hackers, even more than greed,” Decary-Hetu said. “This recognition is the motivation for their acts.”

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No Organization is Immune: Fraud Can Have a Lasting Effect on Any Company


TORONTO – Despite the growth of fraud across organizations of all industries and sizes, many may still not see themselves as a potential target. Though fraud may be dismissed as something that affects a certain type of company, the reality is that there is no “typical” fraud victim. In recognition of Fraud Prevention Month, Shred-it, a world-leading information security company wants to help organizations of all types recognize their susceptibility to fraud and identify safeguarding methods.

The 2012 Shred-it Information Security Tracker revealed that 57 per cent of businesses both large and small felt that if data from their company was lost or stolen, it would not seriously impact their business. As high-profile instances of fraud generally receive the most widespread attention, many businesses may infer they are not a target for fraud and be less vigilant with securing their information as a result. This may be the case especially with small businesses. In fact, the 2012 Shred-it Information Security Tracker showed that almost two-thirds (61 per cent) of small businesses don’t believe a data breach would have financial and reputational damage to their business.

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Men targets for online strip scam, cops warn


OTTAWA — Police in Gatineau, Que., are warning about a scam in which women convince men they meet online to strip during webcam conversations, then blackmail them for cash.

The scam is targeted at men who regularly use online dating sites.

Police say a woman starts chatting up a man on the site and convinces him to go on webcam with her.

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Canadian Government Pans BlackBerry PIN-to-PIN Security


BlackBerry smartphones may not be as secure as users think, according to a memo that Canada’s Public Safety department sent to government workers recently.

The memo was obtained by Postmedia News under Canada’s freedom of information law. The Canadian news agency reported this week that the one-page note distributed in January by the Public Safety department’s cyber-security unit singled out PIN-to-PIN messaging as “the most vulnerable method of communicating on a BlackBerry.”

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