Cyber Security Today: Ransomware forces doctors out, Toronto man target of police raid, U.S. restaurant chains hit

Ransomware forces doctors to retire, a Toronto man says he was the target of police raid, and U.S. restaurant chains hit by data breach.

Welcome to Cyber Security Today. It’s Wednesday April 3rd. I’m Howard Solomon, contributing reporter on cyber security for

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Some ransomware news to report: The city of Albany, New York was hit by an attack over the weekend. The city hasn’t said how extensive the attack was. Meanwhile two doctors who run a practice in Michigan have taken early retirement after they refused to pay a ransomware demand and all patient records were wiped. The doctors wouldn’t pay the $6,500 ransom to unlock the files because there was no assurance their practice wouldn’t be hit again. It’s another reminder that the best protection for ransomware is to have vital files backed up separately from your main system.

Last week the RCMP raided a Toronto residence as part of an investigation with the FBI and Australian police into the use of a remote access application. This kind of software gives legitimate computer support companies — as well as hackers — remote access to your computer. Well, according to security reporter Brian Krebs, a Toronto man says he was the target of the raid. His product was sold under the name Orcus Technologies. The man said his software was designed for legitimate use only. He also said he’s not responsible for how licensed customers use his products, and that he actively kills software licenses of customers found to be using it for online fraud. However, Krebs notes that the list of features and plugins for Orcus go beyond what a legitimate remote access software does. For example, it can scoop up passwords. No word on whether anyone has been charged.

Earl Enterprises, which owns a number of American franchised restaurants, has admitted credit and debit card data has been stolen from its systems. Affected are the Buca di Beppo, Earl of Sandwich, Planet Hollywood, Chicken Guy!, Mixology and Tequila Taqueria (TAKQUERIA) chains. Anyone paying by card between May 23, 2018 and March 18 of this may have been affected. Stolen credit and debit card numbers are already being sold on a criminal web site.

Some international news to report: Google has removed more than a dozen malicious Italian Android apps with hidden spyware from its Google Play marketplace. According to ThreatPost, an Italian software firm is suspected of developing the spyware. It’s now under investigation. An Israeli cyber watchdog said it has uncovered a network of fake online accounts backing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and slandering opponents ahead of next week’s general election. According to Agence France Press, the group found over 130,000 tweets from hundreds of fake or anonymous accounts. Netanyahu said he has lots of legitimate online supporters. And in India, the national Election Commission is struggling to cope with fake news on Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms before the April 11 elections. According to the Associated Press, Facebook said Monday it was removing hundreds of pages and accounts.

Finally, Google released its annual Android security and privacy review. One thing to note: Because Google is pretty good at detecting potentially harmful apps in the Play store, hackers are increasingly trying to get bad apps pre-installed on Android smart phones. They are also distributing software development kits for app developers to use that include hidden malicious capabilities. So phone makers have to be wary of apps they put on their devices, and developers have to be wary of where they get their coding platforms.

That’s it for Cyber Security Today. Links to details about these stories can be found in the text version of each podcast at That’s where you’ll also find my news stories aimed at businesses and cyber security professionals. Cyber Security Today can be heard Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts or add us to your Flash Briefing on your smart speaker. Thanks for listening. I’m Howard Solomon


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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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