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Issue 64 | July 2020


This newsletter includes information to help lawyers reduce the likelihood of being sued for malpractice. The material presented is not intended to establish, report, or create the standard of care for lawyers. The articles do not represent a complete analysis of the topics presented, and readers should conduct their own appropriate legal research.
Cyber Security and the Impact of COVID-19 on Cyber Threats

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security, a federal government agency, has recently released a bulletin on the impact of COVID-19 on cyber threats. No surprise that with the pandemic, threats are increasing. The key judgments in the bulletin are:

  • Malicious actors are taking advantage of the pandemic in various areas such as cyberespionage and cybercrime.
  • The health sector is under extreme pressure to mitigate the pandemic and ransomware continues to target healthcare and medical research facilities.
  • Cyber espionage directed at Canada is likely to continue particularly attempts to steal intellectual property relating to COVID-19 medical research and classified information regarding government responses.
  • Online state sponsored operations will increase over the coming year as more traditional espionage activities remain hampered by travel restrictions and social distancing.
  • Online influence campaigns will continue to erode trust in official statements and figures.
  • Remote workforces will continue to be targeted by foreign intelligence services and cybercriminals.
  • It is likely that authoritarian governments will use COVID-19 as a justification to procure and deploy surveillance technologies against their own citizens, expatriates residing in Canada and Canadians living abroad.

FINTRAC has also recently a bulletin on COVID-19 trends in money laundering and fraud. Included in the bulletin are indicators of COVID-19 Merchandise Fraud and COVID-19 Identity and Emergency Benefits Fraud. The bulletin concludes that as the pandemic continues, there is an expectation that financial hardship faced by Canadians will result in more victimization including increasing loan scams, debt consolidation frauds, and investment frauds. Cyber dependent frauds such as spear phishing, ransomware and phishing campaigns will continue to take advantage of increased online activities such as working from home.