Archive for Canada

BMO and CIBC-owned Simplii Financial Pwned…. Tens Of Thousands Of Customers At Risk

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 29, 2018 by itnerd

The CBC is reporting that CIBC-owned Simplii Financial has warned on Monday morning that hackers had accessed the personal and account information of more than 40,000 of the bank’s customers. Then Bank of Montreal revealed that hackers had stolen data on up to 50,000 of the bank’s customers.

That’s not good. but it is actually worse than that.

The hackers have now gone to the media with threats of leaking the data that they stole when the banks apparently did not pay up a $1 million ransom for the data. CBC managed to take some data that the hackers served up to them and confirmed that it is real. So as a result, all these customers are now under threat of being pwned in epic fashion. This is not good to say the least that two banks in Canada have been pwned like this. These banks have a lot of explaining to do. And you have to wonder if other banks can be pwned like this.



Are Canadian Carriers Sharing Location Data With LocationSmart?

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 19, 2018 by itnerd

You might recall that I brought you a story about LocationSmart yesterday and the fact that not only four US carriers were sharing data with them, but they had a bug that allowed anyone to see any cell phone’s location. Well it seems that the “Big Three” cell phone carriers in Canada, as in Rogers, Bell, and Telus may be sharing data with this company according to Global News:

Privacy officials in Canada plan to look into reports over the past week that Canadian telecom companies share location data on subscribers with third-parties, a practice that, in at least one case, appears to have allowed similar data on Americans to be accessed by police without a warrant.

Bell, Rogers and Telus were named in an article on, a technology website owned by a subsidiary of CBS Corp., as among the North American telecom companies selling real-time location data on subscribers to a company called LocationSmart.

If that’s true, then that’s very troubling. I expect better from the “Big Three” carriers in Canada. I would expect that all of the big three to explain whatever relationship that they have with this company and do it now. Because all three of these companies aren’t exactly loved by the public. And this isn’t going to help their public image.


CRTC Steps In To Fix Emergency Alert System

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 16, 2018 by itnerd

According to the Financial Post, the CRTC is working with all of its partners to fix the technical errors that caused the test emergency alerts to be inconsistently distributed to Canadians. Which is a good thing as the rollout of this system can best be described as a hot mess as evidenced by everything in this post on the subject. The fact that a real alert earlier this week which was an Amber Alert sparked complaints highlights the fact that action needs to be taken immediately to fix this.

Now I have been very critical of the CRTC over the years. But if they can fix this and give Canadians the alert system they need and deserve, I’ll all for it.

Emergency Alert System Tests In Canada Are A #Fail

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 10, 2018 by itnerd

All this week, different parts of Canada have been running tests of the new Alert Ready emergency alert system that is supposed to alert you of anything from an Amber Alert (a missing child) to natural disasters. Alerts are supposed to show up on radio, TV, and as a notification on your phone, as was the case with your truly:

The problem is that I was one of the lucky ones apparently. Some people didn’t get the alert while the person next to them did. Here are some examples:

And in the case of anyone in Quebec, nobody got the alert. Though that was due to an employee screw up. But what is clear is that this system which is supposed to keep the public safe doesn’t work. Thus I suspect that there will be a lot of explaining to do by those who put this together, and likely more tests. I for one hope that they get this sorted quickly as emergencies don’t wait until your systems are perfect before they hit you.

Charges Against Nova Scotia Teen Who Pwned FOI Requests Website Dropped

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 9, 2018 by itnerd

It appears that there is common sense in the world as news is filtering out that a teen in Nova Scotia who was arrested last month for figuring out how to mass download freedom of information requests, effectively pwning the site, have been dropped:

Halifax Regional Police say they won’t be charging a 19-year-old man arrested last month for downloading files from Nova Scotia’s freedom-of-information portal.

Spokesperson Neera Ritcey said in an email Monday that after a thorough investigation, police determined there were no grounds to lay a charge of unauthorized use of a computer against the teen.

Now that is the correct outcome as this teen didn’t have any ill will. He was just curious. Hopefully he learns from this and is a bit more circumspect going forward. The only downside to all of this is that the Nova Scotia government has to notify people that their data has been improperly accessed. But I say that they wouldn’t have to do that if the data was properly secured in the first place.

Tech Conferences Move North To Toronto Because Of Trump Turmoil

Posted in Commentary with tags on May 3, 2018 by itnerd

The Collision Conference, one of North America’s most influential technology gatherings, tweeted this on Tuesday:

Collision, which typically boasts 25,000 attendees, will be coming to Toronto Canada in 2019. And it will be staying for another 2 years past that. The video with PM Justin Trudeau clearly takes some thinly veiled shots at the US and the Trump administration. Something that won’t go unnoticed by said administration. And the thing is that Collision is not alone in coming north. At least two other major technology conferences have recently made the decision to relocate to Canada. They are lured in part by Toronto’s burgeoning tech sector, but also driven by travel restrictions imposed by U.S. President Donald Trump. Policies that have left organizers scrambling to accommodate those who can’t visit the United States. That’s going to cost the US some cash, which will also likely not go unnoticed. 

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, I love the fact that these people are coming here as it will put Canada on the map and we’ll make some money. But at the same time, I fear what a reactionary and anything but a stable genius will do when this hits his desk. That could be a problem. But in the meantime, welcome to Canada all those who come here for these conferences.


The Big Three’s Low Cost Wireless Plan Proposals Are A Total Joke

Posted in Commentary with tags , on May 2, 2018 by itnerd

Canada has some of the highest cell phone costs in the world. And pretty much everyone in Canada with the exception of those who work for Bell, Rogers, and Telus would agree with that. The CRTC saw that as well and asked for submissions for lower cost data only wireless plans back in March. The “big three” telcos responded with the following:

  • Both Bell and Telus came up with a monthly plan offering 500 megabytes of data for $30.
  • Telus also came up with a prepaid plan offering 600 megabytes for $30 a month
  • Rogers came up with 400 megabytes for $25 a month

The CRTC then posted the proposals online and got more than 230 comments which all said that same thing. These plans are a total joke. Let me give you a couple of examples as to why these plans are a total joke by illustrating my experience with wireless plans in other parts of the world:

  • During a business trip to India I used a Vodafone SIM for the week that I was where. It gave me unlimited voice and texting along with 1.4GB of data for 675 Indian Rupees which works out to about $13 Canadian. And that was considered expensive as I was apparently paying the “tourist rate”.
  • On a business trip to Australia, I used a SIM from Optus which gave me unlimited voice and text. But it limited me to 500 MB a day. Total cost was $2 AUD a day which in Canadian funds is about $2 CDN a day. Keep in mind that things are insanely expensive down under with cheap beer being about $9 CDN a bottle. But somehow this doesn’t seem to apply to the cost of their wireless services which are pretty reasonable by Canadian standards.
  • The first time I went to the UK on business, I paid one pound for a T-Mobile SIM card and ten pounds for 100 minutes of talk time, 400 texts, and 1GB of data. That’s $18 CDN. And the UK is an expensive place with burgers costing about $17 CDN.

The fact is that the “big three” telcos have zero interest in providing Canadians wireless plans that are a good value for Canadians hard earned money. Largely because they don’t see the need to. I’ve argued for a very long time that the only way to solve this is to have the Canadian government let in a very large foreign telco such as Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, or Orange, and have them set up shop in Canada. Now to be clear, I am not advocating that the government should bankroll these companies. What I am advocating is that they simply have to open the door and let them walk in and set up shop. If they did that, the cost of your cell phone bill will plummet almost instantly because the “big three” would then have to seriously complete to keep you as a customer. And if you don’t believe that this would happen, look at the panic that Verizon caused the “big three” when they were rumored to be expanding into Canada a few years ago.

The bottom line is that these low cost proposals by the “big three” are a joke. In fact, I’ll also say that they’re insulting to hard working Canadians who only want cell phone service at a reasonable price that is in line with what the rest of the planet gets. These three telcos need to understand how out of step with reality they are and adjust accordingly. Alternately, the CRTC or the Canadian government need to take action so that Canadians get the service that they deserve at a price point that is within the bounds of reality.