Archive for October 9, 2019

To save Canada’s democracy, we must disrupt it: Adastra

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

As Canada gets set to vote in the October Federal Election, a new poll released today probes Canadians on issues of governance, accountability, security and digital democracy and shows 54 per cent of Canadians feel the country’s political system needs disruption.

Additionally, the survey shows half of Canadians feel the current voting and governance system leaves them behind. Of note, younger Canadians (18-34) are much more likely to feel this way, versus those 55-plus (61 per cent to 43 per cent).

The survey, titled Digital Democracy in Canada, an Angus Reid survey of 1,500 Canadians was commissioned by Adastra Corporation, a global leader in data management and analytics.

The poll found broad consensus on a couple of salient points across the country. Specifically, more than nine-in-10 Canadians (94 per cent) wish it were easier to hold politicians accountable and an identical number feel there needs to be a way to make the parties care about more than their stump issues. In terms of which issues matter, three quarters of Canadians (74 per cent) would welcome new ways to allow issues to be more personalized to them through digital means.

“There are many challenges facing elections and democracy, some of which are in the news, and others which are long-term, structural issues,” said Marcos Da Silva, Director, Analytics Products and Strategy at Adastra, based in the GTA.

“We conducted this survey to get a benchmark on how Canadians feel about those challenges and discuss how digital transformation can be used to solve problems, breathe new life into democracy and engage citizens.”

Digital democracy was defined in the survey as “the use of modern digital technology and strategies in the political and governance processes”. In Canada, and globally, all industries are undergoing Digital Transformation, including healthcare, an area with as much at stake for citizens as democracy.

Where Canadians stand on digital democracy

Respondents were probed regarding several issues of digital democracy. Four-in-five Canadians (82 per cent) fear that a more digital democracy is a threat in terms of election fraud or hacking, while three-in-five feel it is a threat to privacy (63 per cent).

But unpacking the findings a bit further, it becomes clear there is attraction for digital democracy:

  • 75 per cent of Canadians agree that a more digital democracy is an opportunity to breathe new life into democracy and engage younger citizens.
  • 69 per cent feel that all of society is undergoing a digital transformation, and elections/voting needs to get on board.
  • 65 per cent feel a more digital democracy is an opportunity to hold politicians more accountable.

In terms of which issues matter, three quarters of Canadians would welcome new ways to allow issues to be more personalized to them through digital means.

Adastra has worked diligently at the forefront of technology for two decades – transforming and disrupting norms and ideas in ways never thought possible. Companies can learn more about how Adastra can unlock the secrets behind their data and kick off their Digital Transformation at


From September 26 to October 1, 2019, an online survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1500 Canadians who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The precision of Angus Reid Forum online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians been polled.

More information can be found at

RCMP Arrests Two In Connection With The Bell Data Breach

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

You might remember that Bell got pwned in 2018 and 2017. The first time about 100K customers were affected with names and email addresses being accessed. The second one had over 20,000 Bell small business customers affected with data including credit card details put online.

Now it seems that as a result of the 2018 incident that the RCMP got involved and today a press release went up announcing the arrest of two persons connected to that incident.  The two individuals will appear in court in relation to fraud over $5,000 CAD, conspiracy to commit fraud, unauthorized use of a computer, identity theft, laundering proceeds of crime and identity fraud. In other words, the Mounties got their men. It isn’t clear which incident that these arrests are connected to.

It will be interesting to see what details come out in this trial. As it stands, all we know beyond the arrests is that the pair then fraudulently purchased goods online through the accounts. But I would love to know if they were behind both incidents or not and how they got in for starters.

DLink Won’t Fix Routers That Are Open To Remote Pwnage

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

If you have any of the following DLink routers, you may want to replace them with something else:

  • DIR-655
  • DIR-866L
  • DIR-652
  • DHP-1565

The reason being is that according to Threatpost, these routers have a vulnerability in their latest firmware that leaves them wide open to being pwned remotely. And then there’s this:

 D-Link last week told Fortinet’s FortiGuard Labs, which first discovered the issue in September, that all four of them are end-of-life and no longer sold or supported by the vendor (however, the models are still available as new via third-party sellers). The root cause of the vulnerability, according to Fortinet, is a lack of a sanity check for arbitrary commands that are executed by the native command-execution function. Fortinet describes this as a “typical security pitfall suffered by many firmware manufacturers.” With no patch available, affected users should upgrade their devices as soon as possible.

While I get that it’s not DLink’s fault that a vendor was sitting on some gear in a warehouse someplace for a long time and is selling months or years after it was discontinued, it doesn’t take away the fact that DLink needs to step up here. The fact is they are not fixing this issue because they don’t feel that they have any responsibility to. Clearly the fact that they got slapped by the FTC and are under 20 years of oversight means nothing to them.

In the absence of the FTC exercising their oversight powers, there’s one way to send a message to DLink that this behavior is not acceptable. Don’t buy their products. EVER. If they see their sales drop, maybe they will change their tune and act in a responsible manner.

A Follow Up To My Story On Optimized Battery Charging

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 9, 2019 by itnerd

When I last wrote about optimized battery charging in iOS 13, I explained how the feature works in theory and my observations about the feature. At the time, I noted the behavior that I was seeing and the fact that the feature had not turned on for me yet. A couple of days ago, I noted this:


If you look at the charge pattern, it charged to 80% between 10PM and midnight. It stayed that way until about 3AM when it started charging to 100% which ended at just around 5AM roughly. So at that point, the phone was ready to go for when I woke up at 6AM. I also noted that it doesn’t always do this. For example, today I woke up to find that it did normal charging and not optimized charging. So I am assuming that this is still a work in progress.

Another data point is that I have been observing my wife’s iPhone XR to see if I see similar behaviors to my iPhone XS. As I type this, even though the feature is turned on, it has made no attempt since iOS 13 has been installed to do any sort of optimized charging. That’s weird. It would be nice if Apple provided better documentation on how this feature worked so that there’s way less guesswork on my part. But all Apple provides is this document on the feature which really doesn’t help to explain the behaviors that I am seeing.

I will continue to monitor this and provide my observations on this feature.