On August 17th, 2021, Grow Your Wealth attended a webinar on Canada’s fight against cybersecurity and how the government assesses and mitigates risks. Jason Greeley (Director of Cybercrime, Federal Policing Criminal Operations of RCMP) led the panel, alongside Manulife’s Kirsten Neumann (Director, Bank Investigative Services) and Simon MacRae (Inside Sales Manager).
We learned quite a bit about cybersecurity risks and are pleased to share with our readers’ information on the nature of cyber threats and some of the preventative measures that Canada employs to ensure a safe cyber landscape for individuals and businesses.
What Are Cyber Threats?
Canadian cyber law leaves little wiggle room regarding what constitutes illegal or illicit activity online. Any unwarranted, unwanted, or unannounced seizure of digital assets, passwords, media materials, identities, or intellectual property constitutes a cybercrime.
Who Protects Us from Cyber Threats?
Canada is not alone in its fight for digital security. Through international networks of intelligence partners, antivirus software, and operating system developers, digital space is navigable for consumers with only minor safeguards such as strong passwords and firewalls.
When the digital pathways are clear, businesses and individuals may conduct themselves with confidence. In this way, Canada is committed to preserving our digital freedoms for both economic and societal benefit.
How Are Cyber Crimes Committed?
Cybercrimes and their severities are varied, but all follow roughly the same pipeline:
- Reconnaissance – Attackers probe for weakness, either in software or use behaviour.
- Weaponization – Deliverable payloads are developed using an exploit and a backdoor.
- Delivery – Sending the weaponized bundle to the victim. IE a malicious link in an email.
- Exploit – Executing weaponized code on the victim’s system.
- Installation – Installing the malicious package on the target asset.
- Command & Control – Creating a channel where attacks may control systems remotely.
- Actions – The attacker remotely carries out the intended goal.
What Can a Cyber Crime Look Like?
There is no limit to how extensive or minor a threat can be, how it may be implemented, or how it may appear to you prior to infection. Threats could be unprompted emails from friends with the subject “KITCHEN RENO PHOTOS” to a link or an email attachment from an unfamiliar address.
Some sophisticated exploits involve faking entire web pages, which may be spotted by close examination of the URL, safety tools such as your system’s antivirus software, or ensuring the lock logo is present on the URL bar of the browser you are using.
Vigilance and trusting your download media sources are essential. A compromised link could look as innocent as this!
What Can Cyber Criminals Access?
The extent of a compromised system varies based on your software and the nature of the infection. Keeping your systems up to date and your antivirus software active may help limit the threat of further infection.
What Can I Do If I Believe a Device is Compromised?
If you suspect your device is infected, not everything is lost. Running a virus search, bringing your device to a professional, or immediately changing your passwords can help protect you from the loss of sensitive information. As well, submitting cases to your local law enforcement or the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.
If your data is being ransomed back to you for any reason, the RCMP recommends not paying the attacking party. Criminal organizations are interrelated, and you will be funding further attacks with no promise of getting your data back.
What Canada is Doing to Protect Citizens?
Canada pursues cybercriminals in both reactive and proactive capacities. Investigations may be launched either after systems experience infections or in the months preceding potential crimes. Federal and local jurisdictions are ultimately committed to the disruption of malware development and illicit service hosting. Due to the borderless nature of cybercrime, these efforts are undertaken in collaboration with law agencies worldwide.
Am I At Risk Right Now and What Can I Do About it?
The sad reality is that, yes, cyber threats are pervasive. However, by implementing good digital hygiene, downloading only trusted material, and keeping systems up to date, you mitigate all reasonable risks. The Government of Canada provides free resources for maximizing your digital security through their Get Cyber Safe program.
Any migration of human activity to the digital realm comes with a measure of risk. So long as one follows safe digital protocols, including those laid out by the Get Cyber Safe program, businesses may enjoy internet access with peace of mind.
We wish to thank Jason Greeley, Kirsten Neumann, and Simon MacRae for their time in hosting an informative event.
Are you concerned about how to grow your financial assets and protect from market and other risks? Grow Your Wealth Financial Planning can help evaluate your situation and provide recommendations to maximize the use of your wealth in your lifetime as well as leave behind the most for your loved ones. Contact us to discuss further.