Posthaste: Majority of Canadian companies held hostage by malware are paying the ransom

Remote work leaves businesses ‘more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks,’ survey finds Of the almost 500 companies surveyed, 56 per cent of those organizations hit by malware paid the amounts demanded by cybercriminals, the survey found. Photo by REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration _____________________________________________________________ Advertisement This advertisement has not loaded yet, but your article continues below. Good morning!…
Posthaste: Majority of Canadian companies held hostage by malware are paying the ransom

Remote work leaves businesses ‘more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks,’ survey finds

Of the almost 500 companies surveyed, 56 per cent of those organizations hit by malware paid the amounts demanded by cybercriminals, the survey found. Photo by REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

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Good morning!

Hybrid work is leaving Canadian businesses “more vulnerable than ever to cyberattacks,” a new study found.

That increased vulnerability has put cybercriminals in the driver’s seat, as a majority of Canadian companies that find themselves held hostage by malware end up paying a ransom, according to a survey by Novipro, a Montreal-based information-technology (IT) company, and polling firm Leger.

Twenty-five per cent of 491 said they were victims. Of the almost 500 companies surveyed, 56 per cent of those organizations hit by malware paid the amounts demanded by cybercriminals.

“As an entrepreneur, I am very concerned that so many organizations are paying a ransom,” said Yves Paquette, co-founder and CEO of Novipro. “Companies need to be proactive in preventing cyberattacks, otherwise the impact will be devastating to them and their customers.”

It’s the very sensitive nature of the information being held captive that puts many companies between a rock and a hard place where ransom is concerned.

For example, 60 per cent of the organizations surveyed said the data they hold includes social insurance numbers, credit-card numbers, and personal information. Nearly one-third (28 per cent) valued that information at more than $1 million.

Since the start of the pandemic, companies said they had reviewed security practices and invested in software, among other things.

Strangely, the resulting worry over IT vulnerability from hybrid work hasn’t led to more cybersecurity training for employees.

The survey found that between 2020 and 2021, companies had conducted less training than previously. Only 40 per cent of respondents said they planned to offer cyber-security training in 2022.

Of the companies hit by a cyber attack, 53 per cent attributed their security breach to employee actions. Thirty-one per cent said the attack was “motivated by malicious intent” on the part of an employee. Meanwhile, 22 per cent of companies said an employee had unwittingly clicked on a bad link.

The survey also revealed some regional differences around IT security:

In Quebec, 70 per cent of companies were less likely to review security practices due to the pandemic, compared with 82 per cent in Ontario and British Columbia.

More than half of Ontario businesses (56 per cent) are more afraid of a cyberattack since the implementation of hybrid work; in Quebec, 32 per cent said they were less concerned.

A quarter of respondents said they have already experienced a computer threat, similar to the previous year. Ontario was the most-affected province in 2021, overtaking Quebec.

“If organizations invested even a fraction of the potential cost of an attack, they could easily put systems in place to guard against such fraud,” Paquette said. “In the physical world, you’d employ a detachment of guards to protect something with a seven-figure value, however, there still seems to be a disconnect when the ‘something’ is digital.”

The Novipro/Leger survey was conducted between October 1 and 25, 2021. There were 491 respondents. It is the survey’s sixth year.

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A BRIDGE TOO FAR The Ambassador Bridge that connects Detroit in the U.S. and Windsor, Ont. is a vital route for goods coming into Canada. Pandemic blockade protests have snarled access to the critical trade route causing significant alarm to people in the import business. “I’m going nuts. I’m going crazy,” said Sandro Saragiotto, president of Offshore Canada Logistics Inc. “This is not right.” Graphic by Mapcreator and Financial Post staff

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  • The Canadian Travel and Tourism Roundtable to hold a press conference at the Pearson International Airport with a group of Canadian doctors calling on the federal government to do away with the COVID-19 travel restrictions, including the on-arrival and pre-departure PCR tests
  • Transportation Minister Omar Alghabra, Minister of Northern Affairs Daniel Vandal are to make a funding announcement to support critical infrastructure at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport
  • Today’s Data: U.S. CPI and initial jobless claims
  • Earnings: Brookfield Asset Management, Canada Goose, Arc Resources, Bombardier, Saputo, Aurora Cannabis, Precision Drilling, Constellation Software, Telus International, Fairfax Financial, Indigo Books and Music, The Coca-Cola Co., PepsiCo, Kellogg, Twitter

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Interest rates are going up, in part to help tame inflation. Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem was clear about that following the most recent rates announcement in January. But, in a speech to the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, Macklem indicated that the ascent of rates might not be as precipitous as some market participants are predicting. The reason for that writes FP editor in chief Kevin Carmichael, is that Macklem still believes supply bottlenecks are to blame for an inflation rate that is at a 30-year high. And higher rates, argues Macklem, won’t ease supply.

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A picture is worth a thousand words, they say, and to a business looking to boost its brand good photographs are a must.

Social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat have played a big role in elevating photography into an industry with a market size of $1 billion in Canada and $11.5 billion in the United States. Among all of that spending, companies are aiming for engagement and conversions.

Our content partner StackCommerce can help you achieve photos worthy of a professional with Luminar AI Bundle. It features artificial intelligence photo editing software and a photography course to show you how to take ideal images.

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Today’s Posthaste was written by Gigi Suhanic (@GSuhanic), with additional reporting from The Canadian Press, Thomson Reuters and Bloomberg.

Have a story idea, pitch, embargoed report, or a suggestion for this newsletter? Email us at [email protected], or hit reply to send us a note.

Listen to Down to Business for in-depth discussions and insights into the latest in Canadian business, available wherever you get your podcasts. Check out the latest episode below:

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