Cyber security news roundup: a recruitment crisis, botnets, spies and ransomware

Two hands holding a newspaper. The words

In an increasingly digital world, cyber security issues are an inevitable (and ever-growing) part of the media landscape. As a result, a range of cyber security issues are hot topic in local, national and international news coverage. Here is a brief roundup of some of the most interesting recent news items right now.

The return of botnet Emotet

Are you seeing an uptick in personalized spam email? Emotet, one of the internet’s most costly and destructive botnets, could be responsible. The emails sent by Emotet can be easy to fall for: they impersonate a sender that you have previously corresponded with and reply to existing email threads. Emotet spreads fast by using a massive database of stolen email passwords.

Takeaway: People can counter the threat of Emotet infections by using an antivirus program like Windows Defender or Malwarebytes and using strong passwords.

Authorities allege Ottawa man was preparing to leak highly protected information to foreign entities

In September, Canadian investigators discovered a trove of encrypted computers in the Ottawa condo of an RCMP intelligence director. Authorities allege that 47-year-old Cameron Ortis was preparing to leak highly protected information to a foreign entity or terrorist group. Ortis is currently in custody while he awaits trial.

Takeaway: The national police force is assessing and working to limit security risks among Canada’s intelligence allies. The Public Safety Minister maintains that Canada must strike a balance between privacy and the needs of law enforcement.

Fast food makes fast data – DoorDash is the latest victim of a data breach

Hackers were hungry for stolen information when food delivery service DoorDash was victimized by a data breach last May. In September DoorDash confirmed that the breach had impacted approximately 4.9 million users including customers, delivery workers and merchants.

Takeaway: Users who created DoorDash accounts before April 5, 2018 are encouraged to change their passwords. However, DoorDash confirmed that the perpetrators did not obtain enough information to make withdrawals or charges.

Are women the answer to the cyber security recruitment crisis?

The cyber security industry is in a recruitment crisis: it desperately needs more skilled works to meet the growing industry’s demands. Many cyber security experts argue that the answer to the industry’s lack of skilled workers is in training and recruiting more women.

Takeaway: Lisa Kearney, founder of the Women CyberSecurity Society, confirms that women only make up approximately 10 per cent of the cybersecurity workforce. Lisa’s non-profit society is aimed at helping women and girls find and maintain good careers in cybersecurity.

Ransomware attacks that target private businesses and public institutions are on the rise

In October, Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital became the third hospital to fall victim to a ransomware attack in recent months. No money or data was lost in the attack, but cyber security experts suggest that more ransomware attacks that target public and private institutions are to come.

Takeaway: Exercise caution by not clicking on emails or links from people you don’t know. The malware often infiltrates systems after a user opens a malicious email attachment.