Tech & Science

Ransomware attacks becoming common, more sophisticated in Canada: agency – National

The director of the Canadian Center for Cybersecurity said ransomware attacks are becoming more common and sophisticated, but there are many things that can be done to better protect the country.

“The threat is real, the threat is growing, and we can’t talk about it enough,” said Sami Cooley, an organization whose mission is to provide information technology security and foreign signal information to the federal government. Told.

Ransomware attackers used to infiltrate systems and take control, but now many have changed their methods, Corey notes.

Khoury said many attackers focus on stealing data and other sensitive information that they can threaten to publish or sell, rather than breaking into systems and demanding cash just to regain control. I discovered that

“Over time, companies have gotten a little more sophisticated about keeping backups, and they realize that they can lock down information technology and still be able to restore from backups,” he said.

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“What they’re after now is information.”

Such incidents have become so frequent that Cooley believes cybercrime, including ransomware, is the biggest cybersecurity threat facing the country.

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Book retailer Indigo, grocer Sobey’s, oil and gas producer Suncor Energy, and Toronto’s Children’s Hospital have all been victims of ransomware attacks in the last year.

Corey reckons the Canadian Cybersecurity Center received about 305 ransomware reports last year, up from about 295 the year before.

“But I can assure you that the actual numbers are not even close to that,” Corey said.

“The actual number may be closer to adding zero.”

The actual number of attacks is likely higher, as he notes that many organizations are too embarrassed to report that they are affected by cybercrime.

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Corley argues that reporting is essential. Because the more incidents the Canadian Cyber ​​Security Center is aware of, the more specific our advice and guidance can be customized, and the more information we can gather about who may be behind the attack. attack can be stopped.

He also urges organizations to protect themselves from cyberattacks by using stronger and different passwords, setting up multi-factor authentication on their accounts, and educating them about security risks.

These measures are key to combating not only cybercrime, but also attacks on critical infrastructure, risks targeted by the state threatening Canada, and widespread misinformation, he said.

Each is more important than last year as geopolitical unrest grows and key infrastructure such as pipelines are increasingly targeted.

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Cowley’s Center, part of the Federal Communications Security Agency, called on Canadians in February to be “vigilant and prepared” for potentially malicious online activity on the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. rice field.

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In May, the company warned of a “significant threat” from state-sponsored perpetrators linked to China, stating that “it takes advantage of built-in network management tools to navigate the system so that every action appears like normal activity.” It can be seen,” he warned.

It has also overseen the government’s removal of the music-based app TikTok from federal devices because its parent company, ByteDance, is based in China, where requesting access to user data is legal. because it is recognized.

Asked if he would advise the state to take further action on TikTok, Cooley said he would follow the government’s decision but thought the public had a role to play.

“I encourage all Canadians to look at their phone settings and see what applications are requesting what kind of access and make personal decisions,” he said.

Despite the influx of threats and many security issues in the public eye these days, Canadians shouldn’t be pessimistic about fighting cyber attackers, Corey said.

“We can absolutely make a difference. We don’t want to leave you feeling hopeless,” he said.

“Good tools, lots of good advice. If something small happens on your network, just give us a call and we can help you diagnose it.”

© 2023 Canadian Press

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