The media only covers the most high-profile cyber-attacks. You may have heard of cyber-attacks on Uber, LastPass and MGM Resorts in Las Vegas. Can you name any Canadian cyber-attacks in 2023?
In this article, we identify six Canadian cyber-attacks that should have received more airtime. Surprisingly, half of them are on government entities. Therefore, directly impacting Canadian citizens.
Have you heard of any of these attacks?
In Ontario, the government distributes alcohol across the province through the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO). Between January 5th and January 10th, 2023, an unauthorized party hacked their website and embedded malicious code. As a result, a third-party collected names, credit card information and passwords of those who used the website since the malicious code was embedded on January 5th. (cbcnews)
In this case, a government entity lost personal identifiable information and set up their customers for identity theft. We didn’t hear anything about LCBO helping the victims nor did we see any updates on this story. Where was the media coverage?
Black & McDonald, a Canadian engineering giant, was hit by a ransomware attack in March 2023. The company refused to comment on what happened and their clients also downplayed the impact of any damage. Their clients include the military, power and transportation infrastructure across the country. (ctvnews)
With 5,500 employees across Canada and a reported $1.5 billion in sales in 2022, there may be a reason this story was swept under the rug.
As Canadians, this would have been a good story to get updates considering our infrastructure may have been compromised.
Yellow Pages Group, a Canadian directory publisher was hit by a cyber-attack. Black Hasta leaked personal information on a forum from the company. Although the company largely deals with public information, the following company information was found on the forum:
· Passports and drivers’ licenses
· Tax documents
· Sales and purchase agreements
· Budget and debt forecasting
Black Hasta claimed responsibility for the Capita cyber attack in April of 2023 and the Sobeys attack that occurred in 2022. There is speculation that the group is rebranded Conti ransomware group. This is based on their negotiation tactics. (bleepingcomputer)
In March 2023, Nova Scotia unveiled chilling details of a cyber-attack that has left the personal information of up to 100,000 individuals hanging in the balance. This breach was the result of the MOVEit breach that so many fell victim too. Among the victims are teachers, students, healthcare workers, and job applicants. The most shocking victims: 41 newborns born between May 19 and 26. Names, addresses, dates of birth, and employment details were stolen. (ctvnews)
We have never heard of personal identifiable information being stolen from newborns. Where is the news update on this one considering it affected 10% of the provinces population?
Alberta Dental Services Corporation, a government service provider in Canada, had unauthorized access to its data.This ransomware attack exposed its clients, cardholders, brokers, and health benefit providers of over 1.4 million residents. The company responded by engaging cyber security experts, and this involved paying a crypto currency ransom to the hackers. The stolen data contained mainly names and identification numbers. (ctvnews)
CTV News stated that they may have had their banking information exposed as well. Who will really know? Nonetheless, they still got access and sensitive information of the citizens.
On September 14, 2023, government websites in four Canadian provinces and territories—Yukon, Prince Edward Island, Nunavut, and Manitoba—experienced shutdowns. Yukon and P.E.I. attributed their website shutdowns to cyber attacks, specifically using the denial-of-service tactic, flooding the sites with excessive requests. In contrast, Manitoba mentioned interruptions due to network and server infrastructure issues, with no initial indication of a cyber attack. Such attacks, as witnessed in P.E.I. and Yukon, can be used to conceal other hacking activities.
Denial-of-service attacks are challenging to defend against because they originate from legitimate computers, making it difficult to distinguish between genuine information requests and those intended to overwhelm the targeted site. Repairing the site often requires third-party intervention to differentiate between legitimate and malicious requests. Having this in place is crucial.
Quebec recently experienced a similar cyber attack which temporarily affected some government-related websites. No information on the duration of the attack or there solution was given. (theglobeandmail)
Should we ask for answers?
These are only six cyber-attacks that would be worth looking into. Why aren’t there any follow-ups? Don’t businesses have to be transparent when there is a cyber-attack? Why aren’t we, as Canadians’ demanding more answers?
What are your thoughts?
While media headlines often focus on well-known cyber-attacks like those on Uber and MGM Resorts, our investigation into Canadian cyber threats reveals a startling reality. Half of the attacks we uncovered targeted government entities, directly impacting Canadian citizens. In 2023, these incidents, though less publicized, should be ringing alarm bells. Canadians are not immune to high-profile cyber threats, and the implications for our national security are severe. It's time to recognize the urgency of securing our digital infrastructure and understanding that Canadians are prime targets in the ever-expanding realm of cyber warfare.
The question remains: Why are these attacks not spoken about more? What needs to be done for enterprises to understand the risk?
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