Archive for October 3, 2022

Google Canada Commits $2.7 Million To Online Safety & Digital Skills Training For Indigenous Communities… And Publishes A Report On Their Economic Impact

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2022 by itnerd

Today, Google Canada is announcing $2.7 million in Google.org grants to empower Canadians to stay safe online and to build more inclusive economic opportunities for Indigenous communities in Canada. Alongside today’s news, research from Public First was released revealing Google’s impact on the Canadian economy.

To help close the significant skills and education gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous populations in Canada, ComIT will receive a Google.org grant of over $1.3 million to continue their work to reskill Indigenous job seekers for new careers in technology. ComIT’s Recoding Futures program was created in 2020 with the support of Google.org to provide IT training to Indigenous learners across Canada. The program runs virtually and covers topics like Design Thinking, HTML, CSS, Javascript .NET, Python, React and Node.

Google is also announcing new grants from Google.org to support online safety and efforts to combat disinformation among underserved communities. According to research, Canadians under 25 years old spend an average of 7 hours online every day and 42% of Canadians experienced at least one cyber security incident during the pandemic, which has highlighted an increase in cyber threat actors and complexity for Canadians. Actua will receive a Google.org grant of over $670K to expand its Engage. Empower. Connect project that empowers youth from vulnerable groups with the skills, awareness and confidence to be cyber smart.

To help improve digital media literacy in Canada, MediaSmarts will receive a Google.org grant of over $670K to develop and implement a National Digital Media Literacy Education Training Program focused on supporting underrepresented communities. The program aims to help Canadians employ critical thinking skills when they use, create, and engage with content online.

Independent consultancy, Public First also released new research about Google’s impact on the Canadian economy today. Public First estimates that in 2021, Google Search, Google Play, YouTube, Google Cloud and Google Advertising tools helped provide $37B of economic activity for Canadian businesses, nonprofits, publishers, creators and developers. That’s the equivalent of about 1.5% of Canada’s GDP, more than forestry and aviation combined.

Key report findings:

  • In 2021, Google helped drive over 235M direct connections monthly, including phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings and reviews for Canadian businesses.
  • In 2021, more than 1.9 million Canadian businesses and sole traders received phone calls, requests for directions, messages, bookings, reviews and other direct connections to their customers from Google.
  • Public First estimates that in 2021, Google Search and Ads are supporting $1.7 billion in exports for the Canadian economy.

The report also looks at how Google’s products and services have helped Canadians find authoritative information, improve productivity, keep learning and find jobs. Full report can be found here.

Vice Society Leaks Data Obtained In LAUSD Ransomware Attack

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2022 by itnerd

You might recall that The Los Angeles Unified School District got pwned by ransomware a few weeks ago. Well, their problems just got worse as data has been leaked as a result of that initial attack:

Vice Society, a Russian-speaking group that last month claimed responsibility for the ransomware attack that disrupted the LAUSD’s access to email, computer systems and applications, published the data stolen from the school district over the weekend. The group had previously set an October 4 deadline to pay an unspecified ransom demand.

The stolen data was posted to Vice Society’s dark web leak site and appears to contain personal identifying information, including passport details, Social Security numbers and tax forms. While TechCrunch has not yet reviewed the full trove, the published data also contains confidential information including contract and legal documents, financial reports containing bank account details, health information including COVID-19 test data, previous conviction reports and psychological assessments of students.

This was confirmed by Alberto M. Carvalho who is the superintendent of the LAUSD:

Dr. Darren Williams, CEO and Founder, BlackFog had this commentary:

     “The news that Vice Society has leaked data stolen from LAUSD today is unfortunate for all of the students and faculty who will find themselves victims of the fallout, whether it’s via targeted phishing emails, spam phone calls or potentially stolen identities. Education is the number one targeted vertical when it comes to ransomware, and this news today must serve as a wakeup call to others in this sector. It’s time to move beyond aging infrastructures and outdated cybersecurity tools and adopt newer technologies that have been specifically designed to fight ransomware.”

Seeing as today is October 3rd, I am going to guess that the The Los Angeles Unified School District told Vice Society where to go and how to get there. Which is why this leak happened. But it is entirely possible that even if the LAUSD did pay, the leak would have happened anyway. Thus making sure that you don’t pwned is the best defence from gangs like Vice Society.

BlackFog State Of Ransomware Report For September 2022 Is Out

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2022 by itnerd

BlackFog has today released the State of Ransomware Report for September 2022. 

BlackFog issues a monthly report accounting for cyberattacks within the last month, showing targeted industries and the current active threat groups. 

The key findings for the month of September below from Dr. Darren Williams, CEO and Founder, BlackFog:

  • September represents the second highest month of the year with 33 reported ransomware attacks. Ransomware shows no signs of abating with this month representing the third highest number of attacks over the past 3 years.
  • This month we have seen major increases in several ransomware variants. Hive attacks increased by over 50%, Vice Society by 43% and BlackCat 25%. These increases come at the same time that several variants have started experimenting with data destruction, most notably BlackCat.
  • As in previous months we continue to see a focus on the least protected sectors of Healthcare, Education and Government with increases of 25%, 13% and 19% respectively. This month however we saw the largest increase in the Retail sector of 27%, as cyber criminals explore new targets with low investments in cybersecurity.
  • PowerShell continues to be highly leveraged as an attack vector and is now used in 83% of all attacks.


The full report can be found here: https://privacy.blackfog.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/BlackFogRansomwareReport-Sep-2022.pdf

Guest Post: Russia And China Sponsored Over 50 Cyberattacks In H1 2022

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2022 by itnerd

State-sponsored cyberattacks are carried out to espionage secret government data, disrupt services or identify and exploit national infrastructure vulnerabilities. According to the data collected by the Atlas VPN team, Russia and China sponsored over 50 cyberattacks in 2022, with Ukraine being the most targeted country.

Russian-backed hackers carried out 27 cyberattacks in 2022. The attacks mainly targeted Ukraine due to the war started by Russia. Ukrainian government websites, organizations, and broadcasting companies suffered a total of 23 espionage, data destruction, or denial of service attacks.

China has sponsored 24 cyberattacks this year so far. State-backed hackers attacked the United States, Indian and Taiwanese governments and organizations. With the growing tensions between China, Taiwan, and the US, such cyberattacks could happen even more often in the year’s second half.

North Korea-sponsored hackers engaged in 9 cyberattacks. Their main targets were the US and South Korea. Iran sponsored 8 cyberattacks in 2022. Most of their attacks were against countries in the Middle East or the US.

Besides Ukraine as the most attacked country, the US was the second most targeted with 10 attacks. Russia and India followed next, as both suffered 7 state-sponsored cyberattacks.

Cybersecurity writer at Atlas VPN Vilius Kardelis shares his thoughts on state-sponsored cyberattacks:

“As geopolitical tensions rise, so does the possibility of state-sponsored cyberattacks. It is hardly a surprise that mainly China and Russia are responsible for many of the threats that governments and businesses face. Their hackers are well-funded and persistent, which makes them capable of extremely damaging cyberattacks.”

Government espionage

Cyberattacks carried out with the support of governments are typically well-resourced and highly sophisticated, allowing them to inflict tremendous harm on their victims.

State-sponsored hackers carried out 44 cyberattacks against government entities in 2022. Some hackers use malware, which destroys sensitive government information, causing unrepairable damages.

The private sector suffered from 37 state-sponsored cyberattacks. Hackers targeted civil society in 29 state-sponsored cyberattacks. Civil society refers to activists, journalists, and politicians from the opposition party. State-sponsored threat actors carried out 6 cyberattacks on military officials.

Espionage on government, private sector, civil society, and military accounted for 66 cyberattacks.

To read the full article, head over to: https://atlasvpn.com/blog/russia-and-china-sponsored-hackers-threaten-the-world-with-cyberattacks

Uber Shares Safety Tips With Students As Trips On And Off Campuses Double In September

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2022 by itnerd

Now that college and university students are back at campuses across the country, we’re seeing the volume of trips with Uber to and from campuses doubling. We are sharing some back-to-school trends highlighting how students are relying on ridesharing to get around on and off campus. Here’s some interesting trends that Uber has observed:

  • Rideshare trips to and from campuses in Windsor and Gatineau increased by four times between August and September, more than any other university towns in the country.
  • In Lethbridge, Kingston, London, Halifax, Kitchener-Waterloo, Ottawa and Hamilton, rides to and from campuses increased by three times when classes began.

With classes back in full swing, it’s a great time to remind students how to use Uber app features to stay safe when travelling on and off campus. 

This week, Uber Canada will be sending out an email and in-app reminders to students on campuses across the country. Uber is encouraging students to get familiar with Uber’s safety features, study them, and review them regularly—just like they would with any other important subject.

I have some examples of Uber’s safety features below.

Share My Trip

Open the Safety Toolkit and tap Share My Trip to share your location and ETA as well as your driver’s name, photo, and license plate number with a friend or family member so they can see your trip status in real time.

Verify Your Ride

Turn this feature on to receive a unique PIN for every ride, then share that PIN with your driver to help make sure that you’re in the right vehicle. This feature is especially useful in locations where there are a lot of people waiting for rides.

In-app Emergency Button

In the event of an emergency, 911 assistance is just a few taps away. Open the Safety Toolkit, select Emergency assistance, and swipe to call 911. The app displays your location and trip details so you can quickly share them with the 911 dispatcher.

RideCheck 

Using sensors and GPS data, RideCheck can help detect if a trip has an unexpected long stop. If so, we’ll check on you and offer resources to get help.

Uber Canada’s partner, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, is also helping to spread the message and encourage students to develop safe practices.

GSoft Announces New And Improved Features And Enhancements To Its Best-In-Class Microsoft 365 Management Solution, ShareGate 

Posted in Commentary with tags on October 3, 2022 by itnerd

Today, GSoft – the Canadian technology company behind the revolutionary and powerful software product, ShareGate – announced enhanced features to the offering that will fuel continued momentum against the company’s mission: Equipping enterprise customers with the business solutions needed in an ever-evolving digital world.  

The easy-to-use complete management software offering – which has been adopted by more than 75,000 IT professionals worldwide with peak sales generated amidst the pandemic – has become famed for its best-in-class migration capabilities, allowing companies of all sizes to eliminate internal IT complexities, control their digital environments and offer the optimal, user-friendly experience for talent. ShareGate is a best-in-class, go-to Microsoft 365 management solution for everyday Teams and SharePoint operations that ultimately benefits both IT professionals and employees. ShareGate’s new features and enhancements, including provisioning, reporting, and automation, will provide added usability to companies who have migrated using ShareGate, and those looking to manage their already-migrated environments with added ease and efficiency.  

Current customers of ShareGate include some of the largest global companies and brands such as Siemens, McDonald’s, Ikea and Fujitsu. Companies of all scales and sizes have reported the product has saved them hundreds of hours for both migrations and day-to-day management, ultimately freeing up the time of their IT administrators to better manage their digital environments. As companies navigate new and existing complexities caused by diminishing bottom lines, retention issues, staffing cuts and changes, growing cybersecurity threats and more, ShareGate will continue to enable companies to drive efficiencies in their day-to-day operations.  

More information on ShareGate’s new features and enhancements, and how they help enterprise customers and their IT administrators:  

  • Migration and cloud copy: Enables seamless file transfers to M365 environments so talent can work seamlessly, all from one cloud-based location.  
  • Frictionless provisioning: Provides easy-to-use and adoptable templates for IT administrators and enterprise talent to bolster productivity and create a more seamless and consistent digital environment experience.  
  • Reporting engine: Grants access to built-in custom reporting to ensure a centralized, controlled view of the digital environment to assess risks so IT administrators can course-correct proactively or manage issues quickly, whether they’re pertaining to security, permissions data, inventory or usage.  
  • Automation: Automates everyday IT tasks to clean up, organize and govern digital environments, ultimately helping for faster investigations, resolutions and overall management capabilities.  
  • Flexible permissions management: Ensures the right employees have access to the right things to protect sensitive data so members can manage their own environments effectively and efficiently while also providing increased cybersecurity protection through data and file-sharing management and controls. 
  • Administration: Helps IT managers to stop firefighting and move with agility through day-to-day operations to enable productivity through simple, powerful copy actions for SharePoint, Teams and Planner.  

In addition to ShareGate, GSoft also offers enterprise customers two other software products, both designed to lay the groundwork for a premium employee experience. Its other offerings include Softstart, which helps companies facilitate employee onboarding, and Officevibe, which helps companies manage, measure and improve employee engagement.