Information is a weapon. In September, the Weather Network was hit with a ransomware attack, affecting weather data, and preventing the sending of weather alerts. The Weather Network is one in a long list of victims affected by cybercrimes because they are frequent. Organized cybercrimes target all types of data, I like many other Canadians was affected by the targeted data breach of LifeLabs in 2019. Southwestern Ontario, the region I grew up in, is dealing with a ransomware attack that targeted five hospitals in the area. This caused many disruptions including the need to relocate patients and resort to paper charting. Hacker groups are putting increasingly more pressure on vulnerable populations and critical infrastructure, and the tools they use to do it are evolving with technology.
These trends are discussed at length by The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security’s National Cyber Threat Assessment 2023-2024. This assessment discusses the trends in cyber threats. It shows the evolving threat of cybercrimes, conditions lead in part by rapid digitization in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Cyber threats in schools, hospitals, and data breaches of critical infrastructure and business operations that disrupt the supply chain, are happening on a regular basis.
The Canadian cyber threat landscape is evolving rapidly. Artificial intelligence is driving more sophisticated attacks, ransomware remains a persistent concern, and third-party data breaches are becoming commonplace. Geopolitical tensions, with far-reaching influences, also take part in the cyberspace and amplify the spectrum of threats that pose a risk to Canadian organizations. The power of Internet-of-Things (IoT) and Operations Technology (OT) devices makes these useful tools for threat actors to disrupt society on all fronts, from business operations to public safety and security. This includes botnet attacks, data breaches, ransomware attacks, supply chain attacks and industrial espionage.
Supply chain compromises pose distinctive challenges as they involve indirect attacks by compromising a supplier and exploiting their relationships with downstream organizations. Cybersecurity is crucial for chemical and ingredient distribution due to its distinctive position in the supply chain. The critical role of chemical distributors as intermediaries necessitates a robust cybersecurity protocol to safeguard sensitive information, maintain trust and to ensure secured and efficient flow of data from manufacturers to customers and end-users.
Digitalization has ushered in significant advancements across all industries. Major breakthroughs in automation of business operations, generative AI, IoT and computing and data storage have objectively improved productivity and quality of life for millions. However, this progress comes with a significant downside: the rise of a massively profitable cybercrime industry that targets organizations leveraging these new technologies. Effective cybersecurity hinges on collaboration and awareness between the public and private sectors to proactively defend digital assets and safeguard sensitive information.
To manage cybersecurity in our sector it is crucial to remain informed about best practices. I have shared a list of resources below to find out more about the best practices related to cybersecurity.
By: Josh Kellier
Programs Integration Coordinator