Regular readers of this blog will know that we spend a fair bit of time dealing with warnings, updates and suggestions on dealing with IT security and data protection. At times it seems like we never talk about anything else and I wish we didn't need to cover this topic so heavily.
Unfortunately, while Canada is a small player on the international data hacking target list the reality is that cyber fraud, data theft, security challenges and all of the other components of the ugly side of the web are still a significant threat to Canadian businesses and consumers.
A recent report in IT World Canada outlines the details of a presentation by security experts from Telus reporting that recently 70,000 Canadian Credit Cards were posted for sale on a dark web site at a price ranging up to $3 each. It is reported that the cards offered come from many Canadian Banks, multiple jurisdictions but the list appears to have come from only one Province. The additional details are not divulged but this shows one way how the hackers who target data attempt to get paid for their theft.
The pursuit of ill gained money by attacking online data is a business that seems to entice many illegal organizations. One report says that over 100 gangs are using ransomware to attack Canadian companies. It obviously can pay so taking steps to be protected from the attack is valuable. Once a site is targeted action is a challenge unless protection has been previously planned.
Awareness of the seriousness of ignoring this kind of security threat and of the value that illegal data can command on the open (illegal) market can help justify the work, cost and focus required to protect your information.
Even if you think that what you have in your data does not constitute enough useful information you need to address these issues. Unfortunately, by attacking your business the gang could potential obtain information they can use to attack some other data store that has more attractive info. By pulling data from several sources they may be able to create a super data block that can command a high payoff from their illegal activities.
Tips to protect yourself
There are many things that can help to protect yourself and your organization. Some are business focused but some also have consumer value as well. Here are a few offered by Telus Security with a focus on identity theft.
Of course government data is one of the areas where thieves may find the most valuable fruit as they look for SIN, birth date and other identifiers. This challenge is one that our government takes seriously but unfortunately there have been instances where breakdowns have occurred. Constant vigilance is a necessity for them and for any others who hold any kind of sensitive information.
It would be nice to hope that the repeated stories of data thefts, hacking, lost information will go away because the problems have been solved. Unfortunately, this is not the case and continued effort is needed both corporately and personally.