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Editor’s note: Story and map updated with malware data from August 2016.

It’s back-to-school season, and it looks like hackers are also ready to get back to business as malware infections in Canada are on the rise for the first time since March, according to tracking by EnigmaSoftware.com.

The company’s SpyHunter software detected just under 120,000 infections on Canadian computers in August 2016, reflecting a drop of nearly 10.7 per cent compared to the previous month. That is a jump of 4.6 per cent over July, and puts the lowest malware levels seen so far this year behind us.

Also a continued trend this month is the growth of ransomware as a portion of malware. Ransomware is named for its ability to encrypt files on a users’ hard drive and lock them away from access. Hackers then demand a clandestine payment in exchange for access to the data, and the more sensitive and valuable it is, the higher the price. In August, ransomware infections spiked 16.8 per cent over July, according to EnigmaSoftware.

In terms of city-by-city rankings, Chatham-Kent surged to the top of the list from number four last month, knocking long-time most-infected city Trois-Rivieres off the top spot.

Ransomware in Canada

We added this new data layer in April, thanks to some data from the Malwarebytes blog. After finding ransomware being spread by a Hamilton, Ont.-based hospital’s website, Malwarebytes took stock of the ransomware situation across Canada. Researchers have ranked this category of malware as one of the most threatening in Canada for several years now.

Since January, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software detected more than 10,000 instances of the malware affecting Canadians. It provided a top 10 list of Canadian cities most affected by malware, and we’ve added them to our map (look for the yellow briefcase icons).

Canada’s most malware-infected cities

Ransomware and rogue anti-spyware are the worst types of malware afflicting Canadian computers, EnigmaSoftware.com reports. Ransomware variants like CTB Locker and UKash locks off access to computer files and demands money be sent in order to restore access to the information.

Rogue anti-spyware such as Winfix 10 and PC Speed Maximizer create fraudulent messages claiming a computer is infected and then offers to fix the problem in exchange for money.

Cybercrime in Canada

We’ve also updated our cybercrime map of Canada with a new layer of data, showing the police-reported cybercrime from 2013, the most recent data available from Statistics Canada. The range of cybercrime reported by police services in Canada range from types of fraud to threats to crimes of a sexual nature. In 2013, more than half of all cybercrime reported was described as a fraud violation, with 6,203 offenses out of a total of 11,124 offenses across all categories.

Rounding out the top five most-common cybercrimes committed in 2013: uttering threats (786 offenses), child pornography (761), criminal harrassment (735), and luring a child via a computer (638). In sixth spot, identity fraud was reported 580 times, while identity theft was tallied as a separate category and reported 131 times.

Statistics Canada’s data is reported by police services covering 80 per cent of the Canadian population. In Ontario, police services covering 62 per cent of the population reported cybercrime statistics. Notably, Toronto is not included.

York Region was Canada’s hottest region for cybercrime in 2013, with 716 offences reported there. Following was Vancouver with 574, Ottawa with 509, Halifax with 236, and Hamilton with 231.

IT budgets in Canada

Also new to our map is a layer representing an IDC Canada survey conducted earlier this year. It shows how much different regions in Canada are spending on IT security and how much they’d like to spend. Which region do you think is spending the most on security? Find out and read more analysis here at IT World Canada.

Do you have data you think could add to our Malware Map of Canada? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting @itbusinessca.



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