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vice president of Privacy and Access Council of Canada, said the days of teenage computer hackers making mischief have been replaced by organized crime, much of it based in Eastern Europe.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

Deep Cove man running 50 km every month through his 50th birthday year

Ultrarunner hopes Deep 50 Challenge will raise $5,000 for Help Fill A Dream

Oak Bay to host secondary suite open house on Thursday

Online secondary suite survey will run April 25 until May 10

Local author wins gold medal for new book Fat Cats

Former parks warden’s series welcomes new addition to the canon

Ancient microbes discovered off the Juan de Fuca Ridge potentially offers glimpse into alien life

The marine bacteria is dependent on hydrogen, a compound present almost everywhere

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

WATCH: Movie star and PACE alum Calum Worthy talks musical theatre and his career

“American Vandal” and “Austin and Ally” actor has been returning to the program for over 20 years

POLL: How often does your family use BC Ferries?

Navigating the lineups for BC Ferries is a way of life for… Continue reading

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of April 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

RCMP confirm witnesses say body found at Kelowna’s Gyro Beach

Police tape is blocking part of the beach and several RCMP officers are on scene.

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Most Read