January 10, 2023

Does Canada use Spyware? Yes

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And countries are using it against Canada too!

The Privacy Commissioner and Members of Parliament seem surprised by spyware… that’s a problem.

The RCMP use of spyware has been in the news a lot lately ( The conversations have largely centred around the use of warranted and targeted ‘on-device investigative tools. The reality is as the use of encrypted communication increases, police forces will need new intrusive methods to keep up. As far as I see we have no reason to doubt that these admittedly extremely invasive tools were used within the legal bounds and spirit of the rules that was intended. I bring this up to note – not everyone plays by the same rules!

Spyware use is ubiquitous

These days spyware tools are ubiquitous and available to governments as well as criminal groups and individual hackers. In my opinion, the conversation we are having about our police service use of these tools to catch bad guys highlights an extreme naivety to the very real threat we face from nefarious actors using them against us. The “bombshell” in this reporting isn’t that Canadian police use spyware, it’s that our Privacy commissioner and members of parliament seem to be surprised we do.

Mark Flynn, the RCMP’s assistant commissioner for national security and protective policing tried to make the important point that members of Parliament are likely being targeted by foreign actors using spyware. “You should be aware that foreign states that are not partners would absolutely be utilizing these types of techniques,” he said. “You must be concerned and must be aware that you are being targeted and I have very little doubt about that.”

How to defend yourself against spyware?

So, to those MP’s and everyone who may be targeted, let me offer a few things you can do to protect yourself. Please please please do these things.

  • Use complex and unique passwords and organize them in a password manager
  • Use Multi-Factor Authentication wherever possible
  • Don’t use the same credentials for work that you do in your personal life
  • Get yourself some anti-virus software
  • Be aware of the permissions you give to applications when you download them
  • If you notice suspicious activity, if you think you have a problem, ASK FOR HELP – Ask your IT department, ask a reputable IT service provider. Don’t wait, get help. This stuff happens. As you may have recently learned – we do it to – and we’re the good guys.

#spyware #cybersecurityawareness #getcybersafe #cybersecurity #nationalsecurity

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