Friday, December 30, 2011

Simple, easy and free ways for you to create the safest passwords ever



OTTAWA, December 29, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - You will not find it under a Christmas tree or at a Boxing Week sale. It is not a Hanukkah present. But a new online password is definitely the best free gift you can give yourself according to experts at global cloud security leader Trend Micro.

"Before you take advantage of any online shopping bargains or send Season's Greetings to your Facebook friends, give yourself the gift of a strong online password. A strong password keeps personal information safe and secure—while a weak one is like leaving your front door open for anyone to wander in and rifle through your stuff," says Ian Gordon, Trend Micro Canada's marketing chief.


Mr. Gordon and his Ottawa colleagues have come up with their top tips for good passwords:

...Mix it up: Your passwords should be at least eight characters long and include a mix of upper and lowercase letters, and numbers or symbols.

...Be impersonal: Any variation of family names, pets, addresses or important dates isn't secure enough. Spelling them backwards is not safe either as it is a fairly common practice.

...Be unique: Your password should not be a common word in English or any other language. Hackers can use programs that check all words in the dictionary.

...Sequence matters: Don't pick a password that has all of the characters next to each other on a keyboard (12345 or qwerty) because they are easy to figure out.

...Change is good: At least every 90 days. If you think that someone may have gained access to your system or online accounts, change it immediately.

...No sticky notes: Don't store passwords on your computer or on a sticky note next to your screen. Keep it hidden away in a secure location.

...Think it through: If it's too easy to remember, it's probably too easy to figure out as well. You can take a phrase and use the first letters to make a password. For example, "I like to drink 3 cups of coffee" could become the password Il2d3coc.

...Misspell with purpose: It's a good idea to misspell words and add numbers in. Instead of "doghouse" try"doGhoWse219". Since this isn't a real word and it mixes in upper and lower case and numbers, it would be much more secure than the simple "doghouse" password.

...Clever is good: Another good way to come up with a password that you can remember, but is still secure, is to substitute numbers for letters that look somewhat similar. For example, the words "bell tower" can be converted to the password "B377T0w3r", which would be quite hard for anyone to figure out.

About Trend Micro: Trend Micro Incorporated, a global leader in Internet content security, focuses on securing the exchange of digital information for businesses and consumers. Trend Micro is advancing integrated threat management technology to protect operational continuity, personal information, and property from malware, spam, data leaks and the newest Web threats. A transnational company, with headquarters in Tokyo, and operations in 23 countries including Canada, Trend Micro's trusted security solutions are sold through its business partners worldwide.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keeping Children Safe Online



New UNICEF report reveals increased risks and best strategies to protect children online

TORONTO, December 13, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - New information on the dangers children face online and the most effective ways parents, caregivers and policy makers can make cyberspace safer are outlined in a report released by UNICEF today.

"Most Canadian children are online," says Marvin Bernstein, UNICEF Canada's Chief Advisor, Advocacy. "This report provides important strategies Canadians must seriously consider to protect children from known and emerging risks online."

The report Child Safety Online: Global challenges and strategies explains that children's online activities are becoming more private and more frequent as mobile phones overtake personal computers as the most popular way to surf the web.

Some activities like 'sexting' (text messaging or sharing sexual images online) are riskier than others. 'Sexting' is usually intended to be a private exchange between two people, but images are often shared with more people and can have devastating impacts including depression, bullying or self-harm.

Young people themselves identify cyberbullying as the most serious online threat. The report explains, cyberbullying can be particularly traumatic because of its anonymity, its capacity to intrude at any time into places that might otherwise be safe for young people and because it is often public and seen by peers.

The report also reveals there are more than 16,000 web pages worldwide depicting millions of child abuse images of tens of thousands of children. Victims are young, with 73 per cent under 10 years old and the content becoming increasingly more graphic and violent.

"Because of our expanding digital world, there are more opportunities for valuable information and education for children than ever before," says Bernstein. "But the Internet has also significantly increased the potential dangers children face. We must respond to these dangers in a balanced and measured way to ensure children are safe."


Protecting Children Online

The first line of defence in protecting children online is ensuring they receive specific, age-appropriate education. Children must understand the risks they face and make informed and responsible choices when they use digital media.

Canada is a global leader in legally protecting children from sexual exploitation both on and offline, but the report has found legislation is only part of the answer. Parents, teachers, policy makers and the private sector all have a role to play. Private companies must be vigilant in removing inappropriate materials from servers and providing child-friendly programs and privacy controls. Social service providers must also recognize the crossover between online and offline abuse and extend recovery services to all children who need them.

Finally, lawmakers must ensure legislation designed to protect children isn't actually harming them. This can be achieved through the use of early child impact assessments. For example, some laws allow for criminal charges for distributing child pornography when teens share sexual images of themselves.

The establishment of a National Children's Commissioner is also an important step in ensuring the development of a nation-wide response strategy to combat online and offline sexual exploitation, abuse and bullying.

"It is impossible to remove all risks that exist online for children," says Bernstein. "But there are many effective strategies to mitigate these risks, while respecting the rights of children and ensuring they benefit from the important opportunities evolving technology can provide."


Advice and sources of information for young people, parents, businesses and others can be found at www.unicef.ca/onlinesafety.


About UNICEF

UNICEF is the world's leading child-focused humanitarian and development agency. Through innovative programs and advocacy work, we save children's lives and secure their rights in virtually every country. Our global reach, unparalleled influence on policymakers, and diverse partnerships make us an instrumental force in shaping a world in which no child dies of a preventable cause. UNICEF is entirely supported by voluntary donations and helps all children, regardless of race, religion or politics. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Beware of scammers pretending to represent the CRTC


OTTAWA-GATINEAU, December 5, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) has been alerted that people claiming to represent the CRTC are making telephone calls to Canadians and informing them that their computers are potentially at risk. The caller then asks to remotely connect to the computer to scan for and remove any viruses.

These callers are not CRTC employees. Canadians should never grant remote access to their computers or give their passwords to someone who has called them claiming to represent a government organization.

These calls are likely phishing scams that could result in identity theft and fraud. For tips on cyber safety, please visit Get Cyber Safe http://www.getcybersafe.gc.ca/index-eng.aspx.

Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission
Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) is an independent public organization that regulates and supervises the Canadian broadcasting and telecommunications systems. www.crtc.gc.ca


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kids Who Follow House Rules Have Less Negative Experiences Online



Norton Online Family Report Identifies Issues of "Cyberbaiting" and Overspending

TORONTO, November 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The latest edition of the Norton Online Family Report sheds new light on the realities and risks of growing up in the digital age. This year's report identifies the new issue of "cyberbaiting," a growing phenomenon where kids taunt their teachers, then capture the distressed reactions via cell phone videos. In addition, the report reveals a surprisingly high number of kids taking liberties with their parents' credit cards for shopping online. However, it's not all bad news: the report shows that following clearly stated house rules for proper Internet behavior can make a significant impact in averting negative online experiences.

Overall, almost 62 per cent of kids across the world said that they have had a negative experience while online. Nearly four in 10 (39 per cent), however, have had a serious negative experience online, such as receiving inappropriate pictures from strangers, being bullied or becoming the victim of cybercrime. The report also shows that kids who are active on social networks open up more doors for content or situations that can be tricky for them to handle: 74 per cent of kids on social networks find themselves in unpleasant situations online, compared to 38 per cent who stay away from social networking.

Parents are setting ground rules, however, for online use, which helps kids have a more positive experience. The Norton Online Family Report shows that 77 per cent of parents have rules for how their kids may use the Internet. For those households where rules exist, while the "good kids" who follow the rules stay relatively safe with 52 per cent having had a negative experience online, the percentage increases to 82 per cent among rule-breakers.

"Kids are developing their online identity at an earlier age than ever before," said Vanessa Van Petten, youthologist and author of "Radical Parenting. "They need parents, teachers and other role models to help them figure out where to go, what to say, how to act and perhaps most importantly, how not to act. Negative situations online can have repercussions in the real world—from bullying to money lost in scams to giving strangers personal information."


Teachers at Risk of Cyberbaiting

One of the more shocking examples of using social networks for bad behavior is cyberbaiting, where students first irritate or bait a teacher until he or she cracks, filming the incident on their mobile device so they can post the footage online, embarrassing the teacher and the school. One in five teachers has personally experienced or knows another teacher who has experienced this phenomenon.

Perhaps because of cyberbaiting, 67 per cent of teachers say being friends with students on social networks exposes them to risks. Still, 34 per cent continue to "friend" their students. Only 51 per cent, however, say their school has a code of conduct for how teachers and students communicate with each other through social media. Eighty per cent of teachers call for more online safety education in schools, a position supported by 70 per cent of parents.

Raiding Mom's Digital Purse

Twenty-three per cent of parents who let their kids use their debit or credit card to shop online say their kids have overspent. Thirty per cent of parents, however, say that their child has used their debit or credit card to shop online without consent. And more than half of parents (53 per cent) who let their kids shop online using their online store account reported that their child has used it without permission.

But saving money isn't the only reason to set clear guidelines about online shopping and safe Internet behaviors. Eighty-seven percent of parents whose children have been the victim of cybercrime have also been a victim themselves—a steep increase from the global average of 69 per cent among online adults across the world. (Norton Cybercrime Report, 2011)

In Canada: The Breakdown


...69 per cent of Canadian adults surveyed have fallen victim to cybercrime and 37 per cent of children reported being victims as well

...68 per cent of children in Canada said that they have had a negative experience online

...88 per cent of teachers reported that being friends with students on social networks exposes them to online risks

...Only six per cent of Canadian teachers are friends with students on social networks, compared to 34 per cent globally

...Eight per cent of teachers have personally experienced or know another teacher who has been cyberbaited

...71 per cent of teachers call for more online safety education in schools, a position supported by 68 per cent of parents

...Only five per cent of parents in Canada say they have no idea what their children do online, but 17 per cent of children in Canada think their parents are clueless and have no idea about their online activities

...32 per cent of parents suspect their child changes the way they act online when parents are watching them - and 41 per cent of children said they sometimes stop what they are doing online if they know their parents are watching

"Teachers spend almost a third of the day with our children, and play an integral role in helping parents understand children's behaviours, so it was really important for us to gauge their thoughts on cyber safety, and their perceptions of children's online behaviours ," said Lynn Hargrove, director of Consumer Solutions for Symantec Canada. "This report helps paint a picture of what's really happening online, so that we can recognize and address the shortcomings to keep our children safe from potential online dangers. At Norton, we believe that education is a huge part of prevention. We'll continue to do our part and make resources available to educate children, teachers and parents so that they can stay informed about the latest cyber dangers."


For more tips on how to keep your kids and yourself safe online, please visit: ca.norton.com/familyresources. For more findings from the Norton Online Family Report globally and by country, please visit: www.norton.com/cybercrimereport.

Symantec's Norton products protect consumers from cybercrime with technologies like antivirus, anti-spyware and phishing protection -- while also being light on system resources. The company also provides services such as online backup, PC tuneup, and family online safety. Like Norton on Facebook at www.facebook.com/norton and follow @NortonOnline on Twitter.

About Symantec

Symantec's Canadian operations are headquartered in Toronto with offices in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary and Vancouver. For more information on Symantec products or current promotions, access Symantec's Canadian Web site at www.symantec.ca. Symantec is an active member of the Business Software Alliance (BSA).

Symantec is a global leader in providing security, storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world. Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.

About the Norton Online Family Report methodology

Between February 6, 2011 and March 14, 2011 StrategyOne conducted 19,636 online survey among 12,704 adults (including 2956 parents of children aged 8-7), 4553 children aged 8-17, and 2379 teachers of students aged 8-17.

The survey was conducted in 24 countries (14 tracking countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States; 10 new countries: Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Africa, Singapore, Poland, Switzerland and UAE). The global data has been weighted to ensure all countries have equal representation. Adults to n500 (n100 parents), children to n200, teachers to n100.


Tuesday, November 8, 2011

SecureKey Technologies Inc. to power the Government of Canada's new online authentication service

Use of bank-issued credentials from TD Bank Group, Scotiabank and BMO Financial Group will enable secure, convenient access to online government services

TORONTO, November 7, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Toronto based SecureKey Technologies Inc. today announced that it has been awarded a contract by the Government of Canada to provide an innovative Credential Broker Service (CBS) that will allow Canadians to use their bank authentication credentials to obtain access to online government services. To ensure privacy protection, users of the CBS will authenticate through their bank but neither their login credentials nor the identity of their bank will be shared with the Government of Canada. Similarly, no information about the government service being accessed by the user will be shared with the user's bank.

The new service is part of the Government of Canada's Cyber Authentication Renewal initiative and leverages SecureKey's authentication solutions, which enable banks, credit card issuers, governments and healthcare providers to extend the security capabilities of chip-based payment and identity cards to their mobile and online offerings.

"We are thrilled to have been selected, through a competitive process, by the Government of Canada to provide this unique service", said SecureKey Technologies Inc, CEO Greg Wolfond, "This partnership between government and industry lays the foundation for an ecosystem that will offer increased choice and ease of use for consumers and businesses accessing secure online services."


Management of security credentials is a constant challenge for online government services which are used periodically, as website-specific user ID's and passwords are often forgotten. SecureKey's new authentication service will allow consumers to access government services using their online banking login credentials or, if offered by their bank, by tapping their bank-issued chip card on one of SecureKey's easy-to-use USB card readers or, in future, on a SecureKey-enabled laptop or mobile device.

To provide consumer choice and broad national coverage for the launch of the service, three of Canada's largest banks, BMO Financial Group, TD Bank Group and Scotiabank have been selected as the inaugural credential providers. These banks offer unparalleled authentication capabilities that will make customer access to online government services much easier.

"We are pleased to be able to offer our customers safe, secure and convenient online access to government programs and services," said Mike Henry, Scotiabank's Senior Vice-President and Head of Canadian Retail Payments, Deposits and Lending. "So many websites require login information, making it easy to forget a few every now and then. With this service, our customers won't have to worry about remembering another user ID and password because they will be able to easily access government services online using what they already use with us. This will give them the peace of mind that their personal information is securely protected."

"BMO sees this as a natural extension of services we offer to our customers. Our participation gives customers a secure, simple, and trusted verification process for accessing government sites and also levers the investments we have already made in chip and contactless technology to create a safe & sound environment for banking and payments," said Mike Kitchen, SVP, P&C Products, BMO Bank of Montreal.


"SecureKey's credential service will offer our customers a powerful combination of security and convenience when accessing their government accounts online," said Paal Kaperdal, SVP, Online Banking, TD Bank Group. "This is an innovative approach by both government and industry to improve an essential service for Canadians, and another way that TD can fulfill our promise of delivering a more comfortable banking experience to our customers."


The CBS will go live in 2012 and will be made available to all Government of Canada Departments and Agencies.

About SecureKey Technologies Inc.

SecureKey develops innovative hardware and software solutions that extend the power of chip-based identity and payment credentials to online and mobile transactions. With SecureKey, financial institutions, health care providers and government organizations can offer their online customers the convenience and security of ' tap to authenticate' and 'tap to pay' services. SecureKey is a privately held company with offices in Toronto, Ontario.

About BMO Financial Group

Established in 1817 as Bank of Montreal, BMO Financial Group (TSX, NYSE: BMO) is a highly diversified financial services organization. With total assets of CDN$477 billion as at July 31, 2011, and more than 47,000 employees, BMO provides a broad range of retail banking, wealth management and investment banking products and solutions.

About Scotiabank

Scotiabank is one of North America's premier financial institutions and Canada's most international bank. With more than 70,000 employees, Scotiabank Group and its affiliates serve some 18.6 million customers in more than 50 countries around the world. Scotiabank offers a broad range of products and services including personal, commercial, corporate and investment banking. With assets above $567 billion (as at July 31, 2011), Scotiabank trades on the Toronto (BNS) and New York Exchanges (BNS). For more information please visit www.scotiabank.com.

About TD Bank Group

The Toronto-Dominion Bank and its subsidiaries are collectively known as TD Bank Group (TD). TD is the sixth largest bank in North America by branches and serves more than 20 million customers in four key businesses operating in a number of locations in key financial centres around the globe: Canadian Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Canada Trust, TD Insurance and TD Auto Finance Canada; Wealth Management, including TD Waterhouse and an investment in TD Ameritrade; U.S. Personal and Commercial Banking, including TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank and TD Auto Finance U.S.; and Wholesale Banking, including TD Securities. TD also ranks among the world's leading online financial services firms, with more than 7 million online customers. TD had CDN$665 billion in assets on July 31, 2011. The Toronto-Dominion Bank trades under the symbol "TD" on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.


Monday, November 7, 2011

CRIME PREVENTION WEEK: "Crime Prevention through Innovation and Technology"


Crime Prevention… It's everyone's business.

ORILLIA, Ontario, November 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - With Crime prevention Week underway (November 6 - 12, 2011) the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) recognizes the need to utilize technology in its delivery of innovative crime prevention strategies to help engage communities in the prevention of crime.

Public awareness and education initiatives such as the OPP Crime Prevention Section's multi-media and interactive Internet site, the strategic use of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are excellent examples of innovation and technology tools the OPP uses to assist in crime prevention.

The OPP also provides a variety of school-based and community-based programs designed to provide awareness and prevention tips for safe cyber experiences for children. With more than 94 per cent of children accessing the Internet at home, technology and innovation are paramount to effectively addressing current Internet issues for kids such as netiquette, cyberbullying, security, privacy, risqué texting and gaming.

Internet Exploitation & Threats Prevention is one of a number of important objectives carried out by the OPP Youth Issues Unit and the OPP recently teamed up with the Ontario Physical Health and Education Association (Ophea) to launch Connect[ED]; Real Life Online, an important new program that educates students, teachers and parents about Internet safety.

Through innovation and technology, by educating communities and being proactive in the reduction of crime, the OPP remains dedicated to eliminating the opportunity for crime in support of the OPP's vision of Safe communities - A Secure Ontario.

LEARN MORE

Community Issues: http://www.opp.ca/ecms/index.php?id=148

Crime Prevention: http://www.opp.ca/ecms/index.php?id=47

OPP Facebook, Twitter and YouTube websites: www.opp.ca

Connect[ED] Program: http://www.ophea.net/programs-services/more-resources/connected

For more information on Crime Prevention Week please contact your local OPP Detachment.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Who Commits Identity Theft?


From Eastman's Online Genealogy Newsletter
by Dick Eastman


I have written before a number of times about identity theft as well as the safety of using credit cards for online purchases. Now authorities have busted what is believed to be the biggest identity theft ring in U.S. history: a credit-card-stealing organization that stole more than $US13 million in less than a year-and-a-half.

So who were these thieves? Were they hardened criminals or computer hackers, experienced in theft? Apparently not. In fact, almost all of the 111 people charged were bank tellers, retail workers, and waiters, the very people we trust every day with our credit cards in person.

Of the $13 million stolen, almost none of it occurred in online transactions. Almost all the thefts came from old-fashioned uses of credit cards: handing a card to a waiter or store clerk or bank employee.

There is an old fallacy that claims using credit cards online is dangerous. The recent news now proves the opposite: online use of credit cards is now much safer than using credit cards in person in a restaurant, store, or bank. Most thieves steal credit card numbers from in-person use, not from online transactions.

Online credit card transactions with VISA, MasterCard, Discover Card, or American Express are always insured in the U.S., so no one would have lost money even if the theft had occurred from online use.

You can read more in an online article by Robert McMillan of IDG News Service available here


Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cybert Smarts




GUELPH, Ontario September 29, 2011 - Grade 12 students from St. James Catholic High School teamed up with older adults from Guelph Ontario to raise awareness of cybercrime.

With the support of the Retired Teachers of Ontario, this intergenerational team created a flash mob event at a local mall and produced this short video.

The effort included help from Guelph Police Services, Trellis Mental Health and Developmental Services and the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association.

Cyber Risks and Consequences - What Canadians Need to Know


OTTAWA, September 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Canadians know far more about how to use digital technologies than about how to protect themselves and others from vulnerabilities created by those technologies. To counter the growing range of cyber threats, this gap in knowledge and awareness needs to be closed, says a Conference Board of Canada report, It's All About You: Building Capacity in Cyber Security.

"As individuals, we fail to make good cyber-risk decisions because we lack a thorough understanding of how we are vulnerable and what could happen as a result. We therefore do not participate effectively in what should be a "whole-of-nation effort" to counter threats to people, organizations and the country," said John Neily, Director, National Security and Public Safety.


The report finds that knowledge and awareness gap exists at three levels:

...Scope - Cyber threats exist at the national, organizational and individual levels. Most users pay attention only to threats that affect them directly, such as spam and viruses. But governments and businesses must contend with threats to digital infrastructure stemming from intentional sabotage, human error, accidents, and natural events. They also must deal with the risks of online crime, espionage and (military or ideological) conflict.

...Technology - When the internet was designed, security was not one of the priorities. Digital technology makes it too easy for cyber-criminals, cyber-spies, and cyber-activists to harm businesses and challenge the power of governments.

...People - Individuals represent the greatest vulnerability to digital security, but they also are indispensible in making cyberspace more secure. People must become more aware of threats and their potential consequences. However, it has been difficult to date to motivate the average user to take cyber threats seriously.

Leaders in both the private sector and government - both of which have made major investments in digital infrastructure —need to deepen their knowledge of the potential threats, so they can improve the effectiveness of cyber security policies, programs, and technologies. In addition, enhancing the digital skills and literacy of Canadian users and improving the guidance parents, teachers, and peers give to young people concerning the use of digital technologies should be a priority.

The report, which is available from the Conference Board of Canada's e-library, ( http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/default.aspx) was produced with the support of the Centre for National Security. The Centre provides a trusted forum for public and private sector organizations to engage with each other on the critical issues affecting Canada's national security today and in the future.


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Recalled Acer Aspire notebooks can short circuit and overheat posing a burn hazard to consumers



September 16, 2011 - from Health & Safety Watch

The Electrical Safety Authority reports of a recall involving the Aspire notebook computer by Acer America Corporation. An internal microphone wire under the palm rest can short circuit and overheat. This poses a potential burn hazard to consumers.

Acer - Aspire notebook computer

Size/Packaging:
262

Model Numbers
AS3810T-8097
AS3810T-6197
AS2810-4630
AS3810TZ-4000

Two incidents were reported in Singapore and one reported in Taiwan.

Recalled notebooks were sold by Asia Link Computer Inc., Best Buy Canada Ltd., D&H Canada ULC, IBM Canada Ltd. (Supercom), Ingram Micro Inc., Intertan Canada Ltd., Pro Data, Inc., Synnex-EMJ Canada Ltd., and Tech Data Canada Corp. prior to September 15, 2009.


Corrective Action:

Consumers should stop using the recalled notebook computers immediately and contact Acer to determine if their notebook is affected and to receive a free repair.

Consumer Contact:

For additional information, contact Acer toll-free at (866) 695-2237 anytime, or visit the firm’s Web site at www.acer.com.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Staying safe in a wired world



Innovative new resource educates kids about being safe and healthy online

TORONTO, September 13, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Kids are becoming increasingly connected through the Internet, and issues with netiquette, cyberbullying and security and privacy are emerging at younger and younger ages. This fall, Ophea is launching Connect[ED]: www.reallifeonline.ca, a free online resource on Internet safety for students in Grades 4-6.

"Over 94% of Canadian children access the Internet at home. Our goal is to help these students examine and develop their own online practices and behaviours in the same way they would in real life situations," says Heather Gardner, Curriculum Consultant at Ophea. "This resource will help children apply real life behaviour to life online."


Children need to be educated about safe online practices, educators need support staying up-to-date with the online activities of students, and parents need greater knowledge of the world online to be equipped to deal with issues that may arise.

Developed with these needs in mind, this web-based resource (also available on DVD) teaches students in Grade 4, 5 and 6 how to be safer in an ever-changing world of technology. Connect[ED] engages kids in a fun and interactive way through video episodes and related activities. It provides educators and parents with the tools they need to comfortably and effectively protect their students and children during daily online activities.

The resource will be delivered to schools across Ontario in September and is also available online. Ophea, Kids Help Phone, the Ontario Provincial Police and the Ministry of Education are delivering seven regional training sessions on the resource to ensure that teachers are supported in educating their students about Internet safety.

Connect[ED]: Real Life Online was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Education as part of their commitment to ensure that every Ontario public school student is educated in Internet safety. The resource was developed in partnership with the Ontario Provincial Police, Kids Help Phone, University of Toronto Faculty of Social Work, University of Ontario Institute of Technology and TVOKids. For more information and to access the resource, visit www.reallifeonline.ca

Ophea is a not-for-profit organization led by the vision that all kids value, participate in, and make a lifelong commitment to healthy active living. Since 1921, Ophea has been working in partnership with school boards, public health, government, non-government organizations, and private sector companies to support the health and learning of children and youth through the provision of programs and services that support healthy schools and healthy communities. To learn more, visit www.ophea.net


Thursday, August 4, 2011

Warning: Telemarketing/Automated Telephone Scheme


TORONTO, August 3, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Whether by telephone, mail or email, Canadians continue to be targeted by schemes trying to incent and persuade un-expecting consumers into sharing personal information, financial and even health data for purposes which they never agreed to. Unfortunately, this results in thousands of victims of these schemes each year.

As a member of the Competition Bureau of Canada's Fraud Prevention Forum, the AIR MILES Reward Program supports the Bureau's broad-based "Recognize it, Report it and Stop it!" fraud prevention efforts.

Recent information of AIR MILES Collectors receiving telephone calls from unknown organizations informing consumers that they have won a prize consisting of between 10,000 and 100,000 reward miles have been reported to the Program. Unsuspecting Collectors are then prompted to press "1" and are subsequently transferred to an operator who asks for personal and credit card information.

This is not an AIR MILES initiative. The Program does not use an automated message to notify Collectors they have won reward miles.

Canadians must take appropriate precautions to protect their personal information to avoid such schemes. Consumers are urged to protect themselves by never sharing personal information or account information with anyone who should not have access to it.

Any suspicious telephone call when personal information is asked for should be reported immediately to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at www.antifraudcentre.ca or call 1-888-495-8501.

More information is also available at: www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca.

About the AIR MILES Reward Program:

Founded in 1992, the AIR MILES Reward Program is Canada's premier coalition loyalty program. More than 10 million active Collector accounts, representing approximately two-thirds of all Canadian households, actively participate in the Program. The AIR MILES Reward Program allows Collectors to indulge in leisure, entertainment, merchandise, travel and other lifestyle rewards quickly, simply by doing their everyday shopping for products and services at AIR MILES Sponsors. AIR MILES reward miles can be redeemed for more than 1,000 different rewards, family attractions, electronic merchandise, sports and recreation, travel and more.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Online Safety Expert Says Shredding Can Minimize The Risk Of Identity Theft

Destroying old financial documents such as bank statements, brokerage statements and bills is very important as identity thieves can use these documents harm you.


Online PR News – July 19, 2011 – Destroying old financial documents such as bank statements, brokerage statements and bills is very important as identity thieves can use these documents harm you.

These documents contain vital information that a criminal will try to gain access to in order to steal a person's identity.

Says reporter Neysa Wilkins:

"All of your old bills and bank statements can be the keys any thief needs to steal your identity. Paper documents are the main source of material for identity theft crimes. It not only costs you money, but time.

The average victim spends about 300 hours trying to repair credit damage.

Karen Szulczewski of the Better Business Bureau says, I've heard of cases taking up to 55-hundred hours which is the equivalent of a full time job for several years.

Most people make it easy for the thieves, throwing important documents in the trash.

Szulczewski says "It sounds very unglamorous but dumpster diving is still a very easy way for people to steal your identity especially around the first of the month when everybody's paying their bills."

There's also a wealth of information sitting in your mail box.

People will drive through neighborhoods looking for the red flags sticking up so they can take information out of the mailboxes.. those pre-approved credit card offers and other things with sensitive information that are sitting in your mailbox while you're at work.

Financial ruin may not be the only consequence of identity theft.

You could wind-up with a criminal record, courtesy of the identity thief.

"If I have a criminal record, I may want to pretend to be somebody else If I get arrested again because the sentencing may be less I may be able to bond out and then I can skip town and the person whose identity I've stolen doesn't know it until all of the sudden there's a warrant out for their arrest for something they didn't do.

One of the best ways to prevent i-d theft is to reduce the thieves' opportunities."...

A shredder should be in every home and kept in close proximity to where mail is opened. This should make it very easy to develop a routine of consistently shredding old financial documents.

http://howsafeareyou.org outlines key action steps that a consumer must take to safeguard themselves from fraud protection. says founder Michael Roberts "shredding documents is very important and reduces a person's exposure to having their identity stolen. Thieves need access to your information and destroying old statements and bills is crucial... read more story at Online PR News

To learn more about identity theft protection visit the following page of the site:

http://howsafeareyou.org

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Google boosts Gmail's anti-phishing feature


Web email service automatically shows sender's address to combat fake messages

from Computer World
By Gregg Keizer

Computerworld, June 30, 2011 - Google this week added an anti-phishing feature to Gmail that automatically displays the sender's address for some messages.

The move is designed to help users spot suspicious messages that try to dupe people into divulging their Gmail log-in credentials or other personal information.

Starting Tuesday, Gmail began showing the sender's email address on all messages from people the recipient had either not sent mail to or were not in his contact list. Additionally, messages sent via a third-party firm -- such as an email marketing bulk mailer, which are often used by retailers to blast out deals -- now automatically display the sending address.

"If someone fakes a message from a sender that you trust, like your bank, you can more easily see that the message is not really from where it says it's from," said Google software engineer Ela Iwaszkiewicz in a post to the company's Gmail blog on Tuesday.


Previously, Gmail users could expose the sender's address by manually clicking on a "show details" link in the email service's interface... read more story at ComputerWorld.com


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Avoid getting burned by scams this summer: apply Visa security tips





TORONTO, June 28, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - With the Canada Day long weekend in sight, Visa is offering consumers tips on how to protect themselves from card fraud when travelling this summer. The website www.VisaSecuritySense.ca provides helpful information for cardholders on how to protect their account information and resolve unauthorized card use.


"Visa cardholders can be confident in the security of their cards, whether they are at home or away," said Gord Jamieson, Head of Payment System Risk, Visa Canada. "However, card security is a shared responsibility so it's a good idea for cardholders to learn how to protect their cards."


While enjoying summer vacations at home or abroad, it's important to know that Canadian Visa card issuers provide important consumer protections including fraud liability protection and dispute resolution. Savvy consumers can visit www.VisaSecuritySense.ca to find out more about Visa's security features and how to better protect themselves from the inconvenience of unauthorized card use while travelling.

"By spending a few moments building card security into their travel plans, Canadians can enjoy even greater peace of mind as they head out to enjoy their summer vacations," added Jamieson.


VisaSecuritySense.caoffers consumers the following tips when travelling:

...If travelling outside Canada, make sure you call to inform the financial institution that issued your card which countries you will be visiting, and for how long.

...Check your cards - know your expiry dates, account balance and amount of credit available to you, so you won't be caught short with a card that expires while you're away, or not have enough credit to cover your trip expenses.

...Keep a copy of your financial institution's customer service phone numbers, and your Visa account number in a convenient place - separate from your card. Toll-free numbers may not work internationally. If you don't have your financial institution issuer's direct number, you can call Visa's help line collect at 1-303-967-1096 or 410-581-3836.

...Report lost or stolen cards and/or unauthorized transactions to your financial institution issuer immediately.

...Limit the number of payment cards and other personal information that you carry in your wallet or purse while travelling.

...Be aware of your surroundings when entering your Personal Identification Number (PIN) at an ABM or at the checkout.

As always, save and check all receipts against your statement.

Cardholders can also turn to www.VisaSecuritySense.cafor news about fraud scams, access helpful resources or find help to resolve problems.

About Visa

Visa is a global payments technology company that connects consumers, businesses, financial institutions and governments in more than 200 countries and territories to fast, secure and reliable digital currency. Underpinning digital currency is one of the world's most advanced processing networks—VisaNet—that is capable of handling more than 20,000 transaction messages a second, with fraud protection for consumers and guaranteed payment for merchants. Visa is not a bank and does not issue cards, extend credit or set rates and fees for consumers. Visa's innovations, however, enable its financial institution customers to offer consumers more choices: pay now with debit, ahead of time with prepaid or later with credit products. For more information, visit www.corporate.visa.com.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Keep your identity safe this summer vacation



Use these 5 tips from ProtectionPower.ca and protect yourself from identity theft while travelling

BURLINGTON, Ontario, June 22, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Finally, summer vacation is just around the corner! Before you kick back and relax fully, take a few minutes to ensure you are properly protecting your most important documents.

ProtectionPower.ca, Canada's leading identity theft protection service, has a few hints to help you along the way.

"Travellers are obvious targets for identity thieves and other criminals," says identity theft expert Sylvain Patry, senior vice-president of ProtectionPower.ca. "When you're on holiday, you're relaxed, you're in an unfamiliar place - and you're vulnerable. Don't let a pickpocket or a lost wallet ruin a great summer vacation."


Follow these 5 tips from ProtectionPower.ca and stay safe:

...Travel light! Only bring identification and cards with you that you need. If you're travelling within Canada, you can leave your passport safely at home. If you're heading abroad, you likely don't need all of your store cards.

...Make copies. Before you depart, scan, photocopy or photograph the identification you will be travelling with. Write down your passport, credit card and other important numbers. Leave these copies in a secure place in your home. Make sure someone you trust knows how to access them - just in case.

...Never carry all your identification in one place. For example, do not keep your passport and your driver's licence in the same wallet or purse. Losing (or being robbed of) one piece of identification is inconvenient; losing all of it could make it difficult for you to prove you are who you say you are.

...Use the small lockers or safes that are in many hotel rooms. These can allow you to secure, and separate, your identification. When you're heading out for a day tour in a new city, you might choose to keep your driver's licence with you - and leave your health card and your passport in the hotel.

...Keep in touch. Regularly update a trusted family member or friend back home on your whereabouts. Try to do this every day or so via email, chat, phone, Skype or a private Facebook message (do not do this publicly on Facebook or other social media!). If something happens to you, it's good to know someone will notice, quickly.

Watch for Identity Theft Expert Sylvain Patry on your local media station! Patry comments on the very real issues brought forward in UNKNOWN (released June 21 on Blu-Ray and DVD by Warner Home Entertainment Group). The hit film stars Liam Neeson as Dr. Martin Harris, a man fighting desperately to reclaim his identity in a foreign city.

For more tools and resources to help you protect yourself from identity theft, visit ProtectionPower.ca.

About ProtectionPower.ca

Protection Power is a leading Canadian provider of advanced identity protection services and educational resources. Founded by a team of security experts with a background in credit/financial services and technology, Protection Power provides features and experience to help you stay in control of your financial life.


Saturday, June 11, 2011

Skype's Take on Vishing (Voice Phishing)




from Skype Security

June 10, 2011 - Skype is aware of so-called 'vishing' (or voice phishing) attacks, where a recorded call is made to a person to try and coax them to do something, like share personal information via phone or visit a Web site to download malicious software disguised as security updates.

As with any form of communication today, users should be vigilant and responsible at all times and be wary of any suspicious activity.

Our advice is similar to answering a call on your mobile from unknown parties that you don't recognize: either don't answer and certainly don't follow any instructions from unknown parties, much as you wouldn't click on or visit unknown URLs or download attachments that seem suspicious... read more story at Skype


Monday, June 6, 2011

Google remedial measures address privacy deficiencies, Privacy Commissioner says




Privacy Commissioner satisfied with Google's response to her Office's investigation into the company's inappropriate collection of personal information from unsecured wireless networks across Canada, but plans further follow-up.

OTTAWA, June 6, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - An investigation that revealed Google Inc. lacked proper controls to protect personal information has led to a commitment by the company to implement remedial measures that will reduce the risk of future privacy violations, says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Jennifer Stoddart.

"Google appears to be well on the way to resolving serious shortcomings in the way in which it addresses privacy issues," says Commissioner Stoddart. "However, given the significance of the problems we found during our investigation, we will continue to monitor how Google implements our recommendations."


The Privacy Commissioner has requested that Google undergo an independent, third-party audit of its privacy programs within a year and share the results with her Office. An audit will help measure the effectiveness of Google's proposed measures vis-à-vis its overall privacy compliance regime.

This is the first time the Commissioner has asked a company to undergo an independent audit. In order to strengthen accountability going forward, organizations may, in appropriate cases, be asked to file independent, third-party reports attesting to the fact that they have lived up to their commitments and have complied with the Commissioner's recommendations.

"Google is a world leader in innovation and, by its own admission, it pursues ideas which push the limits of social norms and technologies. As such, the company has an added responsibility to ensure that privacy protection gets the attention it deserves. Unfortunately, past history suggests that has not been the case until now," she says.


The Privacy Commissioner initiated an investigation under the federal private-sector privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act, or PIPEDA, after Google admitted that its cars - which were photographing neighbourhoods for its Street View map service - had collected data transmitted over unprotected wireless networks installed in homes and businesses around the globe. It's likely that thousands of Canadians were affected.

The personal information collected included complete e-mails, e-mail addresses, usernames and passwords, names, home telephone numbers and addresses, and even the names of people suffering from certain medical conditions.

The investigation concluded that the incident was largely a result of Google's lack of proper privacy policies and procedures.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner issued its findings and recommendations in October 2010 and asked for a response by February 2011. Google responded and subsequently provided clarification of certain issues at the request of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

The Privacy Commissioner is now satisfied with the measures that Google has agreed to implement, including:

...Significantly augmenting privacy and security training provided to all employees;

...Implementing a system for tracking all projects that collect, use or store personal information and for holding the engineers and managers responsible for those projects accountable for privacy;

...Requiring engineering project leaders to draft, maintain, submit and update Privacy Design Documents for all projects in order to help ensure engineering and product teams assess the privacy impact of their products and services from inception through launch;

...Assigning an internal audit team to conduct periodic audits to verify the completion of selected Privacy Design Documents and their review by the appropriate managers; and

...Piloting a review process whereby members of Google's Privacy Engineering, Product Counsel and Privacy Counsel teams review proposals involving location-based data, as well as the software programs that are to be used for the collection of data.

Additionally, Google has advised that it has begun to delete the data it collected in Canada. This process has been complicated by various rules and regulations that the company is subject to under Canadian and U.S. laws. The company has stated that, until such time as the data can be fully destroyed, it will remain secured and will not be used.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner will follow up with Google next year to gauge full implementation of its recommendations. At that time, the Privacy Commissioner will determine whether and how best to pursue the matter in accordance with her authorities under the Act.

The Report of Findings and a Backgrounder on the Google investigation is available on the Privacy Commissioner's website, www.priv.gc.ca.

The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada. The Commissioner enforces two pieces of federal legislation: the Privacy Act, which applies to the federal public sector; and the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), which applies to commercial activities in all provinces, except British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, which have enacted substantially similar legislation.


Thursday, June 2, 2011

World Health Organization labels wireless "Possible Carcinogen"


Prime Minister of Canada urged to protect Canadians

TORONTO, June 1, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Starting yesterday, microwave radiation from cell phones, cordless phones, Wi-Fi, smart meters and other wireless consumer devices and infrastructure is officially labeled by the World Health Organization to be a Possible Carcinogen, in the same category as Lead and DDT.

The Wireless Radiation Safety Council calls on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to exercise the strength of his new majority government and act swiftly to protect Canada's children, as is happening elsewhere in accordance with the May 27, 2011 resolution of the Council of Europe.

Further, we urge the Prime Minister to quickly call a meeting with all provincial Premiers and Territorial Leaders to develop a framework to safeguard the health of Canadians under provincial jurisdictions of public health, labour, and education.

In light of the reclassification of emissions from wireless devices as possible carcinogens, the Prime Minister must now require Health Canada and Industry Canada to review existing standards for cell phones and all wireless consumer devices, especially those exposing pregnant women, children and youth. These include: wireless toys; baby monitors; as well as Wi-Fi and other sources in schools, daycares, and all locations where pregnant women, children and youth are exposed, including colleges and universities. We also call on the Prime Minister to urgently adopt widespread and ongoing awareness campaigns for family doctors, parents, employers and all Canadians.

The Wireless Radiation Safety Council represents more than two-dozen local and provincial organizations across Canada, lobbying for change in national wireless radiation safety standards.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Skimming - What Does It Mean?





from Investopedia. com









What Does Skimming Mean?

An electronic method of capturing a victim's personal information used by identity thieves. The skimmer is a small device that scans a credit card and stores the information contained in the magnetic strip. Skimming can take place during a legitimate transaction at a business.


Investopedia explains Skimming

Skimming can occur easily in a restaurant because your card is taken away when the bill is being settled. If your server is a skimming identity thief, he or she will, before giving the card back to you, scan the credit card with a hand-held electronic device, which takes only seconds. The electronically captured information is then used to by the thief or sold to other criminals.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

10 Ways to Spot a Charity Scam




from Criminal Justice USA May 18, 2011

Donating to a charity is one of the most generous gifts a person can give, but it’s important to make sure that your good intentions are not wasted on one of the many charity scams circulating the country. Here are 10 ways to spot a charity scam:

1. Refuses to Provide Important Documentation: If a charity refuses to provide tangible documentation of its identity, mission, costs and how the donation will be used, you’re most likely dealing with a charity scam. All charities should have a name, contact person, phone number and address in which they can be reached.

2. Doesn’t Provide Proof of Tax-Deductible Contribution: Charities that cannot provide the paperwork needed to claim a contribution is tax deductible, may reveal themselves as a charity scam. In order to claim a tax deduction for your monetary donation, you need to have written confirmation from the charity that includes: the charity’s name, date of contribution and donation amount. Just like you need a receipt to return an item, you need these documents to get a tax deduction...read more story at Criminal Justice USA


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fines needed to help stem growing data breaches, Privacy Commissioner says



Trends suggest it's time for Parliament to pass legislation that would impose fines on companies when poor privacy and security measures lead to significant data breaches.

STRATFORD, Ontario, May 4, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - An alarming trend of ever-bigger data breaches is prompting Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart to call for substantial fines against major corporations that fail to adequately protect Canadians' personal information from preventable breaches.

"I am deeply troubled by the large number of major breaches we are seeing, including serious incidents in recent weeks that have affected hundreds of thousands of Canadians," says Commissioner Stoddart.


During a speech today at the Canada 3.0 forum in Stratford, Ontario, the Commissioner stated: "Too many companies are collecting more personal information than they are able to effectively protect…. It seems to me that it's time to begin imposing fines - significant, attention-getting fines - on companies when poor privacy and security practices lead to breaches.''

Before the federal election campaign, the Canadian Parliament was considering legislation to create a requirement for private-sector organizations to report significant data breaches to the Privacy Commissioner and affected individuals.

Commissioner Stoddart said the new session of Parliament creates the opportunity to strengthen the legislation to give the Privacy Commissioner the power to impose substantial fines in appropriate cases.

"I have come to the conclusion that the only way to get some corporations to pay adequate attention to their privacy obligations is by introducing the potential for large fines that would serve as an incentive for compliance," she said, noting that her counterparts in a number of other countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Spain, have already moved to impose hefty fines following breaches.


The Privacy Commissioner of Canada is mandated by Parliament to act as an ombudsman and guardian of privacy in Canada.


Be CyberSmart! Don't Get Caught



A CyberSmart Event in Guelph, Ontario on

THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2011

at the Old Quebec Street Mall
~ 10 am - 2 pm ~


Learn to : PROTECT YOU and YOUR FAMILY FROM COMPUTER
& IDENTITY THEFT


Bring : DOCUMENTS FOR SHREDDING

WIN A SHREDDER!!!


Brought to you by The Cybersmart Coalition - St. James CHS Students, Concerned Older Adults, Trellis and Guelph Police Service



CIRA releases report on the future of the Internet in Canada



OTTAWA, May 4, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) released a report on the findings from its national consultation on how the Internet is run.

The Canadian Internet Forum (CIF) was a national consultation hosted by CIRA, along with its partners, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Media Awareness Network (MNet). It consisted of face-to-face consultations that took place across Canada along with input received from an online discussion forum, and culminated at a national event held in Ottawa and webcast across the country in February 2011.

The consultations were broadly themed under two topics: the digital economy and digital literacy, and Canadians identified numerous issues that are important to them. These issues included online safety and security, the development of a 'Canadian vision' for the Internet and the cost and speed of broadband.

The report will be presented to the United Nations coordinated Internet Governance Forum ( www.intgovforum.org), a venue for nations to discuss the future of the Internet.

The report is available here.

About CIRA

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) is the organization that manages Canada's .CA domain name registry, develops and implements policies that support Canada's Internet community and represents the .CA registry internationally.


Friday, April 22, 2011

RCMP and CBSA seize $917,000.00 in Counterfeit Money Orders and Fake IDs!





FRAUD - Recognize it, Report it, Stop it!




TORONTO, April 21, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - The Royal Canadian Mounted Police Integrated Counterfeit Enforcement Team (ICET), in conjunction with its partner agency the Canada Border Services Agency, seized $917,000.00 worth of fraudulent Canadian money orders and multiple falsified identities following the execution of a search warrant on a Sherobee Road apartment in Mississauga on Friday.

Insp. Rick Whattam of the RCMP Commercial Crime Section in Toronto credits the CBSA for their expedient sharing of information which allowed the RCMP ICET unit to follow the fraudulent money orders to their intended recipient who was subsequently arrested and charged.

Fraudulent money orders of this nature are often used as part of an advance fee mass marketing fraud scheme to victimize unsuspecting Canadians who are asked to pay a portion of the value of the money order (as an "advance fee") back to the fraudster - only to discover later that the money order is worthless. In most cases, the advance fees paid by the victims are non-recoverable because a third-party financial transfer company had been used to facilitate these crimes.

The RCMP reminds Canadians to be vigilant when approached with "too good to be true" opportunities. Specifically, the RCMP warns Canadians to be wary of employment offers, advance fee transactions, and marketing pitches (many conducted over the Internet) in which cheques/money orders are advanced with instructions to cash them and return some portion of their value.

Charged with fraud over $5,000.00, possession of forged documents, and possession of false identity information is Maxwell Asante (age 26) of Mississauga, Ontario. Asante is scheduled to attend Brampton Court on April 28, 2011.

The Canadian Anti-fraud Centre (formerly Phonebusters) is the national fraud reporting centre where people can report fraud complaints. This centre, jointly operated by the RCMP, the Ontario Provincial Police, and the Competition Bureau of Canada, supports law enforcement in investigations and assists members of the public in fraud prevention education. If you suspect you are a victim of this fraud or a similar fraud, you may contact the CAFC at 1-888-495-8501 or report it on-line at www.recol.ca.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

9 People Arrested for ATM Skimming



WHITBY, Ontario, April 20, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Nine people have been arrested following a 2 month investigation into an organized crime group compromising payment cards at Automated Banking Machines (ABM) across Southern Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Nova Scotia.

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Organized Crime Enforcement Bureau (OCEB) Identity Crimes Unit (ICU), assisted by the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS), York Regional Police Service (YRPS), Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS), OPP Highway Safety Division, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and OCEB Assets Forfeiture Unit concluded a two month investigation into an organized crime group of Eastern European individuals who were involved in the tampering of Automated Banking Machines (ABM) in order to skim payment card data across Ontario, Quebec, and British Columbia with some occurrences reported in Nova Scotia. These individuals attach devices to ABM's that enable the capture of debit card data and Personal Identification Numbers (PIN) during the legitimate use of banking products by unsuspecting victims. The devices are left in place from one to two hours and then the skimmed data is encoded onto other plastic cards to be used by the perpetrators to access victims' accounts with out their knowledge.

This group is responsible for over 300 tampers which have resulted in losses to victims of approximately two million dollars since September of 2010.

On April 19, 2011, investigators executed 8 search warrants and affected 9 arrests in Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Markham, Toronto and St. Catherines. Police seized 3 vehicles as offence related property and seized ABM overlays, forged payment cards, property obtained by crime, cocaine and a quantity of cash. ABM overlays are devices placed on machines in order to capture payment card data and customer Personal Identification Numbers.

Charged in relation to this investigation are:

Robert DESLIPPE , male, 30 years old of St Catherines is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Arthur CAMPBELL, male, 32 years old of St Catherines is charged with Fraud Under $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Valentin MOLDOVAN, male, 21 years old of Richmond Hill is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Radu OPREA, male, 33 years old of no fixed address is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Laura IOANA, female, 24 years old of Vaughan is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Ioan Florin TANASA, male, 35 years old of no fixed address is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Paul GALATAN, male, 25 years old of no fixed address is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.

Dragos Catalin NEACSY, male, 33 years old of no fixed address is charged with Possession of Cocaine

Christian IOANA, male, 27 years old of no fixed address is charged with Fraud Over $5000, Conspiracy to Commit an Indictable Offence, Possession of Instrument for use in forging credit cards, Possession and Use of Credit Card Data, Laundering Proceeds of Crime, Possession of Property Obtained by Crime, Participation in a Criminal organization, Theft of Credit Card Data and Purposely Possess Identification Information.


The accused were held for bail hearings at the Durham Region Court house located at 150 Bond Street East in Oshawa.


Detective Sergeant Doug Cousens of the Identity Crimes Unit states, "this is another example of the integrated efforts of police agencies working together to identify and capture those individuals responsible for this emerging crime trend. Identity theft costs Canadians hundreds of millions of dollars each year." Police continue to work with the banking industry to detect and prevent identity crimes

Police caution the public to always be alert and aware when using their respective bank debit and/or credit cards and to take the time to get familiar with the appearance of the ABM they regularly use. You will find a number of tips and contacts at the OPP Fraud Prevention links.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Symantec Reports Shortened URLs As Tools Of Crime





Shortened URLs have become a conspicuous tool in the weaponry of cyber-criminals, a recent report has revealed.

from ITProportal.com
Written by Ravi Mandalia

The report, published by Symantec Corporation also claimed that last year alone, millions of shortened URL links were advertised on a number of major web-platforms including the social networking websites, with a significant portion of those links resulting in luring the unsuspecting surfers into phishing and malware attacks.

Con Mallon, director of Norton, the consumer online protection brand said in a statement,

“We are seeing that people are being tricked and they're clicking on those shortened URLs”.

Mallon continued, "People have become a little more savvy to looking at the URL to see if it really does look like a proper URL from that company or that individual or that website, but I think when you shorten it, it changes the game".


The report also emphasised on the point that with this new strategy, the “dark-forces” of the virtual world are inflicting far more damage than ever before.

Experts are of the view that though shortened URLs has many a time proved itself as an efficient method to keep it simple, users should really pay some serious attention on their associated security risks, before clicking on these links.

Read more story at ITProportal.com


Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fallsview Casino Targeted by Debit Card Skimming Team





OPP Charge 7 Individuals

NIAGARA FALLS, Ontario, April 8, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - On Thursday April 7, 2011, during the early afternoon hours, the Fallsview Casino was targeted by a group of credit and debit card fraudsters.

In a two hour period, 7 males visited numerous ATM machines within the casino and obtained significant quantities of cash from hundreds of compromised bank accounts.

Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Casino Enforcement Unit officers attached to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario observed and arrested members participating in this fraudulent scheme and have recovered over $15,000 in cash and hundreds of credit cards.

Investigators believe that this group of fraudsters was capable of defrauding Canadian banks and personal bank accounts of $250,000. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.

Charged with Possession of Stolen Property are:

Gavin ANTON-REGINOLD, 21 years of Markham,
Nandakumar KANDIAH, 31 years of Cornwall
Jawad MASHUQUE, 21years of Toronto
Prasath PATKUNASINGAM, 24 years of Mississauga
Srimylan SRIVIGNESWARAN, 22 years of Scarborough
Ramanan THIRUNAVUKKARASU, 29 years of Mississauga
Vigithan VIGNESWARAN, 21 years of Toronto

The above males were all held in custody pending a bail hearing which was scheduled to take place today at the Ontario Court of Justice located in St. Catherine's.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Fraud Can Cost You and Legitimate Charities




Money Can be Lost and Reputations Harmed

FRAUD…Recognize it…Report it…Stop it.


ORILLIA, Ontario, April 5, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - In Canada, we have a long tradition of donating money to legitimate charities during various fund raising appeals. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) want to remind you to be wary and careful before opening your heart and your wallet to someone representing an unfamiliar charity or special interest.

"By nature, we are generous people. Committing your hard-earned money to charity should be as safe and secure as you intend it to be in order to reach the people or causes you want to help." - Deputy Commissioner Scott Tod, OPP Investigations/Organized Crime Command.


Each year, millions of people are contacted - at the door, by mail, by phone, or by e-mail - by those who use names or causes that are very close to the names of legitimate and respected charities. By approaching you at your residence, you may feel even more urgency or pressure to donate. These people may actually be fraud artists preying on your generous nature.

"Criminals will ruthlessly use whatever means necessary to prey on your good intentions for their own selfish purposes. Awareness about the charitable organizations you want to donate to is your best defence against these scams." - Detective Inspector Bernie Murphy, OPP Anti-Rackets Branch.



Throughout the year, the OPP Anti-Rackets Branch recommends that would-be donors consider the following tips:

...If you receive a telephone call, ask for the information to be sent to you in writing. Ask how much of your gift will be used directly for the charity. Ask how much will go toward administrative costs. Legitimate charities will have no problem giving you this information.

...Never give out your personal or financial information over the phone, or at the door. You may wish to make out a cheque payable to the charity. You can mail the cheque later.

...Call the charity. Find out if they know about the appeal and if it is authorized, and what percentage of your donation they will receive. You should never feel pressured into making a donation.

...Ask if the charity is registered. Contact Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) at 1-800-267-2384. Ask CRA for the charitable tax number of the charity. Question any discrepancies.

...At the beginning of each year, decide which charities to support - send your cheques directly to their head office, and feel good about giving. If approached more directly, you can then say that you have already given, and perhaps you will consider their appeal next year when you decide on the charities to support.

If you suspect a fraud artist is at work, file a complaint by calling your local police or contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC) at 1-888-495-8501 or visit online at www.antifraudcentre-centreantifraude.ca