Security Briefs- Data theft puts Canadians at risk


Data thefts put Canadians at risk

At least two major data breaches in recent weeks have put the personal information of a large number of Canadians at risk of possible identity fraud. TJX Companies Inc., parent company of the HomeSense and Winners retail stores, reported that its database containing customers’ credit and debit card data was hacked last December. Montreal-based Talvest Mutual Funds, a CIBC mutual fund subsidiary, likewise reported a breach involving a backup computer file containing application data for 470,000 investors. The file reportedly disappeared in transit on the way to Toronto, the bank said in a news release. Privacy Commissioner Jennifer Stoddart said her office will investigate the incident. Meanwhile, TJX said it has notified the RCMP as well as Visa and Mastercard about the breach.

Keyloggers on the rise

The number of keyloggers — malicious software code that tracks typing activity to capture passwords and other private data — has increased by 250 per cent between January 2004 and May 2006, read a report released by McAfee, Inc.’s Avert Labs. The report also showed that the number of phishing alerts tracked by the Anti-Phishing Working Group has multiplied 100-fold over the same period of time. According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, the annual cost associated with identity theft for consumers and businesses in the U.S. alone reaches US$50 billion annually.

Panasonic traces its notebooks

Panasonic Computer Solutions Company has extended its use of Vancouver-based Absolute Software’s BIOS-based computer tracking and recovery software, dubbed Computrace, to its Panasonic Toughbook notebook line. This means Panasonic now has embedded BIOS support for Absolute’s Computrace-enabled security solutions with the CF-19 and CF-30 rugged notebooks and the CF-T5 business-rugged tablet alternative. The ultraportable CF-W5 and thin-and-light CF-Y5 business-rugged models, as well as the CF-74 semi-rugged notebook, are scheduled to begin shipping with Computrace embedded in early-2007.

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