Experts battle growing online crime

Organized crime-sponsored hackers "are getting smarter, they have more money than anybody else" but you can protect yourself

Ed Pereira

Online privacy and security experts gathered in Victoria on the weekend to share strategies to protect computer networks they say are “under attack like never before.”

Charles Wordsworth, technology security consultant and vice president of Privacy and Access Council of Canada, said the days of teenage computer hackers making mischief have been replaced by organized crime, much of it based in Eastern Europe.

A key concern is breaking into computer networks that collect personal information. The attraction is simple, Wordsworth said. Online criminals work in secret, with little risk to them as they search for weaknesses.

“You don’t get shot robbing online banks,” Wordsworth said. “Unfortunately from my experience, the hackers are getting smarter, they have more money than anybody else, so therefore they can hire people who are a lot smarter than the people who develop the applications.”

B.C. and other governments increasingly use web applications for access to their programs. B.C. Auditor General Russ Jones reported last week on security deficiencies, calling on the province to require better security measures from contractors who develop websites used by government.

One recent example of a preventable breach was in Alberta, where 620,000 medical records were taken along with a laptop computer owned by a private medical clinic with 25 outlets in the province.

Sharon Polsky, CEO of Privacy and Access Council of Canada, said encryption is simple now and should be required of all government contractors. She said protection has to be built in at the beginning, and all employees and contractors with access to personal data should be trained to protect it.

While there isn’t much the average person can do to protect against institutional data breaches, there are simple precautions everyone can take.

The conference was organized by the Vancouver and Victoria chapters of ISACA (Information Systems Audit and Control Association) an independent industry group with members in 180 countries. It has created a website with advice to protect mobile security, social networking privacy and dealing with cyberbullying.

 

Just Posted

FortisBC to offer free energy efficiency assessments for small businesses

Fortis BC wants to helo 900 storefronts in Kelowna, Penticton and Rossland

$174-million acid plant up and running at Trail smelter

Teck Trail Ops; New facility replaces 1970s technology

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

Update: Trail RCMP seize drugs, shotgun, and cash

Warrant in East Trail yields meth, fentanyl, heroin, gun and stolen property

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Driver of RV in Hosmer collision reported in stable condition

Collision occurred in Hosmer on September 5 and involved a semi truck, an RV and a school bus

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

Most Read