Cybercrime “Skyrockets” in Canada

by Jordan Richardson on May 10, 2012

With numerous “advances” like mobile payments seeming inevitable markers on the technology landscape, opportunities for criminals to take advantage of our weaknesses persist. And Canada, apparently one of the most “prepared” markets for the aforementioned mobile payments, is fast becoming a veritable hotbed for cybercriminals.

According to research from San Diego-based Websense Inc., the Great White North is home to a throng of malicious websites and other criminal opportunities.

Of course, Canada’s rise in the world of cybercrime follows a worldwide trend as criminal activities increase with new “advances” in tech. “Things are getting worse – simple as that,” said Patrik Runald, the Websense’s director of security research.

Among Websense’s findings in the first quarter of 2012 was that Canada ranks number two in the world with respect to phishing sites, putting it ahead of nations like Russia in the category. Things are so “ripe” for phishing in Canada that the country now hosts 170 percent more of the sites than during the same period of time last year. If there’s anything for Canadians to take solace in, it’s that the United States has worse numbers for the quarter.

In terms of malicious websites, those have increased by 239 percent since the same period last year.

Even with the increases in numbers and malicious sites, Canada still enjoys a position at sixth place in terms of cybercrime – the same position as last year.

It’s hard to say who is being targeted by the phishing sites in Canada. That the sites are being hosted in the country doesn’t necessarily mean that more Canadians are falling victim to cybercrime, although the risks are certainly increased. According to Runald, scams purporting to be from the likes of Canada Post and TD Canada Trust are in the wind.

As far as what’s being done about cybercrime in Canada, the picture is as dismal as it was last year when Websense reported on the subject. Canadian companies are still less than aware of the issue than they should be, for one thing, and there hasn’t been the level of cybercrime crackdowns as there have been in other countries. The lack of effective legislation, ironic as that may sound in the face of the Tories’ tough on crime policies, also makes Canada  ideal for cybercrooks.

There are ways for consumers to protect themselves from cybercrime, of course, but the continued evolution of the threats makes it hard to keep up even for the most informed among us. While the rush to arm ourselves with the latest and greatest in tech may be compelling (and profitable), it is important to remember the other side of the coin when charging jubilantly toward the “latest and greatest.”

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