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Cybersecurity is not an option, It's a necessity

Threats are lurking around every corner, ready to disrupt your operations and compromise sensitive data.

Why cybersecurity?

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity has become an essential aspect for individuals, businesses, and governments. With the increased reliance on technology and the internet, the potential for cyber threats and attacks has also increased. Cybercriminals and malicious actors are constantly looking for ways to exploit vulnerabilities and gain access to sensitive information.

The consequences of a cyber attack can be severe and can range from financial losses to damaged reputation and even legal action. The gravity of attacks can be understood by exploring the nuances of the following cyber attacks in Canada.

Biggest cybersecurity breaches in Canada 2022

Data breach in a leading health network in Toronto

In early 2022, a leading health network in Toronto reported a cyberattack that compromised sensitive patient data and healthcare records. IT staff detected unusual activity on the system in January, which was later investigated by IT forensics experts. The investigation found that malicious parties accessed a subset of data on many of the organization’s servers. The stolen data included patient names, birth dates, email addresses, home addresses, lab reports, diagnosis information, insurance details, and more. This data breach highlights the recent trend of attacks on healthcare infrastructure and the need for robust cybersecurity measures.

Internal data breach in a multinational furnishings brand

In May 2022, a rogue employee accessed close to 100,000 customers’ private data from a multinational furnishings brand by conducting a generic search on a network computer. While the company took proactive measures to contain the damage and prevent data leaks, the incident exposed the risk of internal threats.

Data breach in a multinational appliances, electrical, and electronics manufacturer

A multinational appliances, electrical, and electronics manufacturer faced a coordinated attack in February that impacted its internal systems, processes, and networks. This attack followed a data breach that had occurred six months prior, where third parties accessed its networks and data. Although the company did not release much information, the Conti Ransomware gang claimed responsibility for the attack and announced the theft of 2.7 GB of HR and accounting data.

Cyber incident in one of the Canadian government's departments

In 2022, a government department experienced a cyberattack on the same day the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security issued a warning against Russia-sponsored cyber threats. While the CSE found no link between this attack and Russia, it maintained its cognizance of Russian cyber activity. Authorities took immediate action to restore all the affected services and prevent future attacks, and the government declined to offer specifics due to the matter’s sensitive nature.

Ransomware attack in a global packaging group

In a sophisticated ransomware attack, hackers infiltrated the Canadian infrastructure of a global packaging group that has twelve manufacturing facilities in North America. They disrupted essential services, including order processing, email, and phone services. It took two weeks for the company to recover and return to normalcy. A third-party team of cybersecurity experts conducted a thorough investigation to assess the damage and prepare an incident response plan.

Cyberattack in Nova Scotia-based service provider

A computer virus that infiltrated the system via email led to serious contingency issues for a Nova Scotia-based service provider, which was part of a consortium of companies bidding to assemble the Saab Gripen fighter jet in the province. The virus penetrated the firewalls in the monitoring system and slowed down the company’s servers considerably. The group expunged the virus and scanned all the servers for any intrusions. The intrusion was confirmed to be a ransomware attack.

Cyber incident in a municipality (Ontario)

The municipality officials did not disclose the details of the cyberattack, but it rendered their website and email services inactive for weeks. This disruption erased official means of correspondence and impacted the working of several departments, including the library’s central computer system. Such attacks have proven expensive for Canadian counties, with other similarly-affected municipalities paying a ransom of $75,000 and $667,000 to recover their systems.

Cyberattack in a public research university

A public research university in Ontario faced a widespread system outage that disrupted day-to-day operations, affecting campus applications such as email, blackboard, the student portal, and the website. The university immediately secured its systems and brought in a team of qualified cybersecurity experts to investigate the incident. This attack had a significant impact on many Spring and Summer term students, who were writing their exams and needed access to the portals.

Reference: PacketLabs

What can we learn from these attacks?

The rise of cyber attacks and data breaches has underscored the importance of robust cybersecurity measures for businesses. The incidents mentioned above demonstrate the growing complexity and frequency of cyber threats faced by businesses of all sizes and industries. In order to safeguard against these attacks, it’s important for businesses to partner with a reliable Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) like Pathway to proactively detect and prevent cyber threats. With the expertise and support of an MSSP, businesses can ensure that their IT assets are protected, their employees are educated on cybersecurity best practices, and they have access to the latest threat intelligence and response strategies.

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