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Canadian Firms a Favorite Destination for Hackers say Experts

Canadian companies are woefully unprepared for computer and Internet attacks, says a national security consultant. Internet security attack attempts in North America increased by 450 per cent in March and more than 800 Web sites were defaced in one week alone by hackers protesting the U.S.-led war with Iraq. Claudiu Popa, a Toronto-based security consultant, said Canada continues to be in the top three most popular target countries for hackers. Attacks on local servers have increased by more than 1,000 per cent over the same month last year, accounting for more than $36 million in damages. “I wouldn’t say that Canadian companies are sitting ducks, because there exist pockets of awareness. “Unfortunately, that’s mostly due to worrying rather than actual information sharing and preparation,” said Popa. “Not only is the structure not in place to handle internal or external attacks in most organizations, but the processes to react to breaches are non-existent, which makes for a very volatile situation.” Popa said technical and educational vulnerabilities have crept into most systems in the past few years, with IT spending growth exceeding security budgets by more than 20 to one. Tom Keenan, a computer security expert at the University of Calgary, said there is a general tightening of security in the physical world that is now being seen in the cyber world. “Certainly there is a heightened level of concern in cyber space,” said Keenan. “Companies and organizations are beefing up their security systems. …We’re very vulnerable. “There is an economic motive in place,” Kennan added. “Countries want to hurt the economy of other countries.” Full Story

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