Calgary, AB,

Small businesses invited to learn about cybersecurity

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month and to kick it off local small businesses are invited to attend the Cyber Business Academy, which is a cybersecurity session hosted by the Calgary Police Service Cyber/Forensics Unit.

On Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017, from 7 to 9 p.m., employees and owners of small businesses can come to CPS Headquarters and learn about how their businesses may be vulnerable to cyberattacks and what they can do to prevent it. Attendees will learn about the methods cyberattackers are using to target victims, how they should secure and backup business and customer data, and what they should teach employees about cybersecurity. Attendees are required to register for the free session through Eventbrite as there is a limited number of spots available.

Recently, CPS has seen multiple types of small businesses targeted by cyberattackers, resulting in losses of up to tens of thousands of dollars each. Scammers target small businesses as they typically have very basic, if any, cybersecurity systems in place and may not have the resources or knowledge to properly protect themselves.

In many cases, small businesses are targeted by sending phishing emails to various employees in a company. These emails often include fraudulent links that install ransomware when clicked on, which causes vital business data to be encrypted and locked until the ransom is paid. In other cases, specific employees who work in finance or accounting roles are targeted through fraudulent emails asking them to transfer funds between accounts or pay a fraudulent invoice. These emails are made to look legitimate and the sender’s email address is usually spoofed to look like it came from the employee’s boss, a vendor, or a colleague.

In one recent example, a small medical office was targeted by a phishing email with a malicious link. Once an employee clicked the link, ransomware was installed on all of the work computers and all patient data was encrypted and locked. The business was unable to access patient history and was unable to operate while their data was locked. This business was asked to pay $20,000 to unlock their patient files.

Investigators have seen all types of businesses in Calgary targeted by this same method including, medical and dental offices, retailers, restaurants, small consulting firms, and other professional and technical service companies.

For more information about the Cyber Business Academy and what topics will be covered, visit Attendees do not need to have any previous knowledge of cybersecurity or information technology systems to attend.