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vice president of Privacy and Access Council of Canada, said the days of teenage computer hackers making mischief have been replaced by organized crime, much of it based in Eastern Europe.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

Trail Smoke Eaters grind out win over Vernon Vipers

Trail Smoke Eaters Kent Johnson scored the game winner in a 3-2 victory over the Vernon Vipers

Tea, crafts, music and dance this weekend in Greater Trail

Grapevine: Events in the Trail area for the week of Nov. 15 to Nov. 21

Car accident prompts advisory from Greater Trail RCMP

Extrication by regional firefighters; driver and passenger walked away with minor injuries

Trail mayor announces task force to address crime

Coun. Sandy Santori was appointed to the Community Safety Task Force

Castlegar’s Waterline property purchased; owners to protect it for rock climbers

New owners plan to subdivide, sell bluffs to recreational climbing group

Extreme Education and Career Fair helps give back to the community

It’s estimated that there will be one million job vacancies in the next nine years in B.C.

Hunter who saved B.C. man pinned inside smashed truck says ‘God was sending me to him’

Sayward man describes chance discovery of Duncan Moffat, 23, in northern Vancouver Island woods

Road-weary Canucks thumped 6-2 by Wild

Vancouver hosts the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday

Toronto private school didn’t report alleged sexual assault to police

Police say a sexual assault at an all-boys Catholic institution was not reported to them

China says butt out; Canada calls for release of “arbitrarily” detained Muslims

A Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman accused Canada’s envoy of going beyond their diplomatic roles

Dead Saskatoon tattoo artist’s skin removed and preserved

The skin was removed in honour of the well known artist’s work

B.C. Realtor suspended after helping intern forge note about sick grandma

Vancouver real estate agent Jaideep Singh Puri has to pay fine, take ethics course

Offensive Facebook post by Okanagan Conservative riding sparks outrage

Post taken down after Conservative MP in neighbouring riding condemns it and demands removal

Judge rules against ALC on rural B.C. subdivision

The ALC can’t change the definition of an acre, the judge ruled.

Most Read