Friday, July 23, 2010

Award winner's breakthrough efforts reveal how technology can lock-in privacy: Commissioner Ann Cavoukian

TORONTO, July 22, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - A major breakthrough by IBM researcher Craig Gentry has led to him being named as the winner of the 2010 Privacy Enhancing Technology Award, which was presented to him in Berlin Wednesday.

Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner Ann Cavoukian and Microsoft are the two co-sponsors of the award, which was created in 2003 to encourage the development of technology that helps protect privacy, rather than threaten it. The winners are selected by a panel of leading technology researchers.

Commissioner Cavoukian, who has been advocating, for more than a decade, the importance of using technology to protect privacy, stressed that Gentry's breakthrough "demonstrates how technology can be an extremely effective privacy-enhancing tool."

Gentry solved a perplexing mathematical problem that has challenged researchers, ever since public-key encryption was invented several decades ago. The breakthrough, called "privacy homomorphism" or "fully homomorphic encryption," makes possible the deep and unlimited analysis of encrypted information - data that has been intentionally scrambled - without sacrificing confidentiality.

Gentry explains it much more simply, describing it as "delegating processing, without giving away access."

IBM said that potential applications for using the mathematical solution include strengthening the business model of "cloud computing" and protecting information contained in electronic medical records.

Commissioner Cavoukian applauds Mr. Gentry for his exceptional achievement!

For more information about the Privacy Enhancing Technology Awards, which are funded by Microsoft, visit

Thursday, July 22, 2010


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Not to be confused with fishing, pish, or Phish.

An example of a phishing e-mail, disguised as an official e-mail from a (fictional) bank. The sender is attempting to trick the recipient into revealing confidential information by "confirming" it at the phisher's website. Note the misspelling of the words received and discrepancy. Such mistakes are common in most phishing emails. Also note that although the URL of the bank's webpage appears to be legitimate, it actually links to the phisher's webpage.

In the field of computer security, phishing is the criminally fraudulent process of attempting to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. Communications purporting to be from popular social web sites, auction sites, online payment processors or IT administrators are commonly used to lure the unsuspecting public. Phishing is typically carried out by e-mail or instant messaging, and it often directs users to enter details at a fake website whose look and feel are almost identical to the legitimate one. Even when using server authentication, it may require tremendous skill to detect that the website is fake. Phishing is an example of social engineering techniques used to fool users, and exploits the poor usability of current web security technologies. Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, public awareness, and technical security measures.

A phishing technique was described in detail in 1987, and the first recorded use of the term "phishing" was made in 1996. The term is a variant of fishing, probably influenced by phreaking, and alludes to baits used to "catch" financial information and passwords.

... read more story at

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ipsos Reid survey reveals 97% of Canadians aware of identity theft

A majority believe it will happen to them at some point; few are taking proactive measures

July 14, 2010 - Protection Power

According to a new Ipsos Reid survey, almost all Canadians (97%) have heard of identity theft and 60% believe it will happen to them at some point in their lifetimes. Some 56% say they are very or extremely concerned regarding the risk of identity theft, especially in retail stores and online, but fewer (25%) recognize the risks at home and in institutional settings such as the workplace, school and the government – all of which hold large amounts of personal information.

In addition, the survey reveals that most Canadians do little to protect themselves from identity theft.

“While 72% of Canadians say they have taken steps to protect themselves, the variety of means cited as to how they are actually doing it is limited,” said Mark Wilkins, Vice-President, Ipsos Reid. “The destruction or shredding of hard copy documents is the step most often mentioned, which leaves many identity theft risks unaddressed like computer hacking, unsafe social networking or organizations losing confidential data.”

... read more story at Protection Power

Wireless Communications: A Strong Signal for a Stronger Canada

Industry association stresses urgent need for more spectrum and removal of policy disincentives to continued investment

OTTAWA, July 15, 2010 /Canada NewsWire Telbec/ - The Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA) has announced the release of "Wireless Communications: A Strong Signal for a Stronger Canada", the wireless industry's input to the Government of Canada's Digital Economy Strategy consultation. As the Government embarks on this critical process to define and refine those policy elements that will shape Canada's Digital Economy Strategy for the next five to seven years, CWTA has provided numerous recommendations that are essential in continuing to deliver a world-class wireless ecosystem that provides an increasingly important technological backbone for all aspects of life in Canada.

Growing Demands Need to be Met

Globally, mobile data traffic increased 160% between December 2008 and December 2009, and will double every year between 2010 and 2014. Canadian networks are far from immune to these pressures, given the exponential increase in Canadians' adoption and usage of advanced wireless devices in the next few years.

"To avoid network traffic jams that would otherwise compromise the economic and social benefits inherent in advanced wireless broadband networks, wireless carriers will be under constant pressure to increase the already heady pace of capital and spectrum investments," said CWTA President & CEO Bernard Lord. "As a critical element of its Digital Economy Strategy, the Government must act immediately to make available additional spectrum to help alleviate the impending network data crunch."

Among its key recommendations, CWTA stresses the urgent need for the Government to act expeditiously and immediately commence the much-anticipated licensing processes for the 700 MHz and 2500 MHz spectrum. In relation to the 700 MHz licensing process, CWTA would clearly be concerned with any delays to the DTV transition and is encouraged by comments made by CRTC officials that the DTV transition date will not change. In addition, CWTA states that the Government must take all necessary steps to identify 500 MHz of additional spectrum that should be made available for commercial wireless services.

Ovum: Canadian Wireless Carriers Pay the Highest Spectrum License Fees in the G7

In another key recommendation, CWTA says it is imperative that the Government look for ways to reduce and remove policy and regulatory disincentives to network investment. Wireless carriers in Canada, and ultimately their customers, have to absorb disproportionately high regulatory costs. These costs act as a drag on the amount of capital available for required network investment and innovation.

A new report by Ovum Consulting confirms that Canadian wireless carriers pay some of the highest Government spectrum licence fees in the world - by far the highest in the G7, and second only to Australia in the developed world. The complete Ovum international comparison of spectrum licence fees is available at:

In 2010, Canadian carriers will pay nearly $130 million in spectrum licence fees. If the 2009 US fee model were applied in Canada, the industry would pay less than $4 million in licence fees. In this regard, CWTA notes that the recent "Plan for a Digital Canada", issued by the Senate Committee on Transport and Communications, recommends that "Industry Canada, in establishing policies to allocate and price spectrum, consider pricing regimes in other countries, especially those in the United States."

"Excessive and arbitrary fees, levies and other regulatory charges will only serve to redirect funding that could otherwise be spent on further network investment," said Mr. Lord. "Canadian consumers already absorb some of the highest Government spectrum licence fees in the world. And these fees are on top of the hundreds of millions of dollars that wireless carriers expect to pay in other regulatory fees and charges between 2010 and 2012, and on top of the billions they will need to raise to participate in upcoming spectrum auctions over the next 12 to 24 months."

Wireless Communications Make Canada Stronger

The wireless industry in Canada makes an undeniable contribution to the economy and social fabric of Canada. The industry delivers an economic benefit of some $39 billion annually, creates nearly 300,000 high-value jobs, and contributes numerous national social programs to enhance civic participation and public safety in communities across the country.

"The growth of the industry since its launch 25 years ago has prompted a communications revolution that impacts all Canadians," said Mr. Lord. "In a country as vast as Canada, any technology that brings us closer makes us stronger. This has never been truer than today, when Canada boasts some of the most advanced wireless networks in the world, including more of the fastest HSPA+ networks than any other country in the G8."

The complete CWTA submission is available at:

Canadian Wireless Telecommunications Association (CWTA)

CWTA is the authority on wireless issues, developments and trends in Canada. It represents cellular, PCS, messaging, mobile radio, fixed wireless and mobile satellite carriers as well as companies that develop and produce products and services for the industry. (