Coffee Briefing Feb.14 – TELUS donated $125 million in 2022; Government of Canada invests to prevent attacks from quantum computers; Romance scams to surge on Valentine’s Day; and more

Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada’s editorial team!

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What’s new this week

TELUS donated C$125 million in 2022

TELUS has announced that it donated C$125 million, or 5 per cent of its pre-tax profit, to charity in 2022, the highest it has ever given in one year. Contributions went towards supporting Canadian youth and marginalized communities as well as to foreign humanitarian relief.

Since 2000, TELUS has donated C$1.5 billion in cash, in-kind contributions, and other programs, and allocated two million days for global volunteerism.

“Increasingly, citizens are choosing to do business with organizations that share their values, exemplifying the symbiotic relationship between doing good in our communities and doing well in business,” said TELUS chief executive officer, Darren Entwistle. “Now, more than ever, communities need the support of organizations to enable their critical philanthropic efforts.”

Over the past three years, TELUS said it has supported 

  1. More than 1 million youth in 2022, through 548 charitable organizations
  2. Contributed to humanitarian and emergency relief around the world, including in Ukraine, after hurricanes Fiona and Ian, unrest in Iran, and flooding in Pakistan
  3. Delivered on a C$10 million commitment to support Indigenous groups across Canada.
  4. Expanded low cost internet, mobility, health, and technology programs to support 342,000 marginalized individuals to date, including low-income seniors in BC, Alberta, and Quebec, government-assisted refugees, and Indigenous women.

Government of Canada tests security solutions to prevent attacks from quantum computers

Toronto-based quantum technologies provider Quantum Bridge Technologies (QBT) has obtained a C$1 million contract under the Innovative Solutions Canada program (ISC), a government of Canada R&D innovation funding program.

As part of this contract, the ISC will trial QBT’s Key Management Entity (KME) and Black Phone products, designed to protect networks and devices with a layer of security that is impenetrable, even with advanced quantum computers. 

QBT describes KME as an easy to use, cost-efficient solution that delivers keys to network hardware in any layer of the communications stack such as network encryptors and switches, and connects easily through standard API calls.

Black Phone employs pre-shared cryptographic keys on mobile devices to protect the device’s messaging, voice, video calls as well as file transfer all with end-to-end encryption and authentication.

The keys in both solutions are delivered through the Distributed Symmetric Key Exchange (DSKE), a widely-used RSA protocol that protects existing security frameworks in multiple sectors, including government, banking, telecommunications, aerospace and many others, from malicious attacks using a quantum computer.

“We are both encouraged that the Government of Canada is testing innovations for quantum safe communications, and pleased to obtain this contract to participate in this important testing phase in real-world environments,” said Mattia Montagna, chief executive officer (CEO) of Quantum Bridge Technologies. “Computationally unbreakable encryption which can be mathematically proven is the pinnacle of communications security. We at QBT are very proud to be on the pathway to commercializing this technology with the support of ISC.”

Canadian mom entrepreneurs can now apply for C$50,000 in grants and services

Total Mom Inc., an Ontario-based organization that provides business support to mom entrepreneurs across Canada, is accepting applications for its fifth annual Canada’s Total Mom pitch initiative

Having supported over 6,000 applicants since its start in 2020, the program gives Canadian mom entrepreneurs a chance at winning C$50,000 in funding and support.

Under the program, 100 applicants will be chosen via a voting process to go through a business accelerator program to gain media recognition and visibility. Ultimately, five finalists will be selected and invited to pitch their business ideas live at the Canadian Women Entrepreneur Industry Gala (CWEgala) on May 30, in front of leading companies, executive judges, media, and influencers.

“Total Mom Inc. exists because it’s simply unrealistic to expect women to have to choose between their career and raising a family,” said Anna Sinclair, chief executive officer of Total Mom Inc. “We are dedicated to building an organization that supports working women, and we plan to grow our programs and events, and Total Mom Pitch is an exciting program that fuels our dedication to women.”

Applications for the program close on Mar. 20. 

Total Mom receives support from organizations including The Scotiabank Women Initiative, Visa, American Express, UPS, VistaPrint, GoDaddy, Export Development Canada (EDC), and the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

Total Mom has also announced a two-year partnership with Bell this year, to elevate and share the voices and stories of entrepreneurial mothers across the country.

Shopify highlights 100+ platform updates in Winter 2023 Edition

Shopify highlighted its platform’s most important updates from the last six months in its semi-annual Winter ‘23 Edition showcase.

Some of the new and enhanced products included:

  1. Updates to Shop app
  • Shop Minis to enable developers to build features for mobile, designed to create innovative in-app shopping experiences
  • -New customization functions to give merchants greater control over the look of their Shop Store (a merchant’s storefront on the Shop app)
  • Shop Cash campaigns is a pay-per-sale customer acquisition channel that Shopify Plus merchants can use to target high-impact audiences with special deals and offers.
  • -Sign in Shop to help merchants identify valuable customers early in their purchase journey.

2. Checkout on Shop is now one page, and offers code-free customizations. Shopify also added more levels of extensibility on the checkout page to help merchants optimize for conversion.

3.  Supercharging Shop Promise with SFN– Any merchant outsourcing their logistics with Shopify’s fulfillment service SFN (Shopify Fulfillment Network) will have Shop Promise automatically enabled on their storefronts. Shop Promise is a badge that means a merchant has been verified by Shopify to offer reliable delivery.

Beware of romance scams this Valentine’s Day

According to a study by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC), a record C$64.6 million was lost to romance scams in Canada in 2021, more than double the C$28 million in 2020.

Scammers have inundated dating apps and social media sites, especially around Valentine’s Day, to prey on single people searching for love and a connection, and susceptible to being victimized. 

The CAFC’s study showed that seniors (those aged 60 years and older) are more likely to be targeted with fraud in general. Additionally, Ontario had the highest number of victims, with a total of 9,713., a platform that verifies online identities with reverse image search, has outlined the top three signs that a would-be date is actually scammer and how to avoid it:

  1. They seem too good to be true – scammers steal the photos of attractive and rich-looking people to lure susceptible singles. Approach such advances with a healthy level of skepticism and reverse search their images to see if the photos are being used elsewhere under different names.
  2. They fall in love despite having never met you, which is highly unlikely regardless of how strong one’s flirt game is. Ask to video chat or meet in person. Scammers always come up with reasons why they cannot do either. Stop communicating if they will not video chat or meet up.
  3. They ask for money, crypto or gift cards. The biggest red flag is when a person you have never met starts asking for money, often for reasons including issues with bank account, medical emergencies, or because they need money to come visit. Scammers like to be paid with gift cards or bitcoin as this is harder for authorities to trace. Never give money to anyone you meet online.

More to explore

U.S., South Korea issue alert on North Korean-based ransomware groups

North Korean state-sponsored ransomware groups are targeting hospitals and other critical infrastructure organizations, U.S. and South Korean law enforcement and intelligence agencies are warning.

Indigo suffers ‘cyber incident,’ knocking it offline

Canada’s biggest book chain has suffered what it calls a cyber incident that knocked it offline on Wednesday.

Give tax break so small Canadian firms can invest in cybersecurity, Parliament told

Ottawa should deploy a wide range of strategies, including tax breaks, to encourage small businesses to take cybersecurity more seriously, a member of a think tank told a parliamentary committee this week.

Government of Canada announces final policy direction to the CRTC to improve competition in the telecom sector

Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has finalized the policy direction to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC), proposed last summer to enhance competition in the telecom sector.

Hiring to increase in Canada, despite market volatility: Robert Half study

The job market has been facing the changing demands of a new workforce and a new economic environment, but it remains robust. More than half of Canadian companies are planning to hire early this year, a new study by recruitment agency Robert Half found.

Toronto university to help train Ukrainians in cybersecurity

A Canadian university is partnering with Ukraine for a pilot program to train up to 100 Ukrainians to become cybersecurity professionals.

Google unveils new AI search capabilities as rivalry with Microsoft intensifies and Bard spews its first nonsense

Today, Google unveiled several new search capabilities and a demo of its AI chatbot, known as Bard, a day after Microsoft announced plans to inject AI into its Bing search engine and Edge web browser.

Microsoft Edge switching to Adobe PDF rendering engine

Microsoft has long used its own rendering engine for displaying PDFs in its Edge browser, but that will change next month.

Channel Bytes Feb. 10, 2023 – CDN Top 100 submissions & Channel Innovation Awards nominations open; iWeb becomes Leaseweb Canada; Oracle Java licensing changes explained; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending

Hashtag Trending Feb.14- Layoffs hamper innovation, AI cloning technology shows President Biden read transphobic text and data brokers selling mental health records

Listen to the latest episode of Cybersecurity Today

Cyber Security Today, Feb. 13, 2023 – Hole in GoAnywhere file transfer utility exploited, ransomware attacks in the U.S. and Israel, and more

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Tendances

If you live in Québec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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