The number of cyber attacks continues to rise year after year, and the year 2019 was no exception to the rule. In fact, this past year has exploded with cybercrime using new modus operandi that no longer exclusively affect large companies. In 2019, attacks have targeted small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) as well as government agencies which are unprepared to deal with these threats. My Technician has selected the incidents that were most significant in the past year.

In Banks

Armed bank robberies may more or less be a thing of the past, but cyber heisting has now become the latest threat. First, in early summer 2019, a data theft by a former Desjardins employee affected 4.2 million members. To compensate for this large-scale information theft, the Québec giant has extended credit-monitoring services by the company Equifax to all its members. A month later, it was the turn of the American group Capital One’s clients to fall victims of a data theft. A total of 6 million people in Canada and some 100 million in the United States have had their payment history, credit limits and ratings information stolen.

In Health Facilities

Ramsay-Générale, the French leader in private hospitalization, suffered a cyber attack in August 2019 which affected nearly 120 of its facilities. Hackers used the ransomware method to render computer files unreadable, thus preventing victims from accessing their content. To regain complete control of their files, affected institutions must pay large sums of money in Bitcoins, an untraceable cryptocurrency.

In Ministries

In March 2019, cyber attacks spread to public institutions. The Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs (ministry of forests, wildlife and parks) were reportedly victims of a Trojan horse, forcing them to interrupt their services to citizens for several hours. In the field of mobile applications, in a statement dated September 12, 2019, Zynga, the developer of the mobile game “Words with Friends”, announced that hackers may have had access to user data. In total, nearly 220 million players have had their personal data (name, email address, password, etc.) stolen. Following this announcement, the developer advised users of the online letter game to change their password. Over the past 12 months, computer attacks have intensified and have been increasingly targeted and difficult to detect. In fact, according to the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA), 71% of Canadian organizations reported having experienced at least one cyber attack that had some impact on the organization, including time and resources, cost disbursements and ransom payments. These hacks take various forms: Trojans, ransomware, identity theft, malicious employees, etc. But it seems that the use of ransom software such as Wanacry is the most common method. To counter this and remain competitive, companies must double their efforts and vigilance to avoid becoming easy prey for hackers.

As mentioned above, these attacks are also increasingly affecting small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Our team can help you build tailored solutions to avoid these threats that endanger your business. Contact our computer security experts at 514-895-5858 or email