Canada a Cybercrime Hotbed

The lack of online security in general has made Canadian servers a preferred target for hackers. These servers now host a variety of malware that poses great danger to any device worldwide that is allowed to connect. Canada is aware of this, but security continues to fall short. Canada’s trusted servers have become the best hiding places for malware, making them one of the top hubs for online theft rings.

Staggering Increase in Malware Hosting and Distribution on Websites and Command and Control Servers

Canada has been fighting increasingly malicious attacks since 2012 from crime rings in North Korea, Russia, Nigeria, among others. But security company Websense reported this month that Canada continues to house very threatening malware. Canada has had a long-time reputation for trust, and experts believe that this is the main reason why the country’s servers are targeted as malware hosts.

The increasing attacks from foreign governments and crime rings signals that Canada is being set up as a hub for cyber attacks. Year-over-year to date, there is a 25% increase in malware hosting on Canadian websites and an 83% increase in distribution of malware by Canadian command and control servers. These numbers pushed Canada from number 10 to number 3 on the list of countries that host the most malware.

Websense reported that attacks and crime organizations are increasing in numbers and sophistication. Senior Manager of the company Carl Leonard said, “Hackers are moving away from the broad ‘spam everyone’ approach because it only yields cents on the click. They’ve set their sights on much more targeted attacks where social engineering of the actual user can turn into millions of dollars in potential criminal profit.”

Canada is hosting a large number of phishing sites used in social engineering attacks. The Canadian command and control servers are used by hackers as a hub from where they launch attacks on corporations and individuals. They send instructions to their planted malware as to where to go, what to steal, and where to send it. Canada now hosts the vast majority of command and control servers worldwide, placing them above China, Russia, Korea, and Germany.

Antivirus Software is Not Enough

Malicious code is updated every hour across the globe, and antivirus software is just trying to keep up, said Chris Astacio of Websense. He explained that proper security comes in a layered approach, where binary code coming in can be analyzed to improve shields against attacks. Meantime, Canadian netizens are looking to add protection layers outside of standard antivirus software, in the form of virtual private networks (VPNs). Our Top VPN page has more information about these services.

Cybe rcrime organizations know that they have a better chance at successful attacks when they launch from a trusted server. Canada’s trusted servers, as opposed to servers in countries with publicized cybercriminal activity, have until now provided a safe haven for their malicious software.

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