Brock University’s Information and Technology Services department participated in a full launch of a brand new campaign on cyber security awareness this week. The campaign, entitled Hacked, aims to provide knowledge and resources to students and faculty at Brock in order to protect themselves from security threats online. According to a press release by Brock ITS released on Sunday, November 21, cyber security threats don’t just affect large corporations, like Casino Rama, who are currently facing a lawsuit after their system were hacked and personal information for several customers was stolen.
One of the Casino Rama customers, Leonid Kaplan, alleges that he was required to provide photocopies of his driver’s licence and credit card in order to be allowed to gamble in the casino. Later, he received an email from John Drake, the company’s CEO, informing him that the casino had been the victim of a cyber attack and customer information had been compromised, though the email did not specify a visit date range that may have been involved.
This is not the first attack of its kind. In October of this year, a massive cyber attack targeted major websites such as Netflix, Visa, Twitter, and the Playstation Network. These attacks were reportedly a warning to the world by the hacking collective New World Hackers, and Anonymous. It was claimed to have been the result of the ‘internet of things’ and the security threat unlocked devices pose for their users. The attack was investigated by the United States’ Department of Homeland Security and the FBI
A similar situation occurred in 2011 when the Playstation Network, Sony’s video game community for their Playstation gaming consoles, was shut down by hackers and the personal and credit card information of users was stolen. The service remained offline for 23 days. Another mass shutdown of the service which occurred in 2014 prompted fears of further stolen information, and kept the service offline for several hours. Another attack on the network happened earlier this year, reportedly perpetrated by hacker group Phantom Squad, though Playstation and Sony were reluctant to confirm this.
Brock’s ITS says on their website that “Cybercriminals are always looking for new opportunities to try and compromise your computer or mobile device. Staying vigilant and following some basic security practices are the best way to help prevent this.”
However, sometimes some things will get through. ITS provides a list of ways to know if your device or computer has been compromised, including alerts from anti-virus software, a change in your web browser homepage that you did not authorize, or your computer running slowly. Other signs include a higher number of emails in your ‘sent’ folder than usual, mysterious posts on your social media accounts and passwords that no longer work.
What can you do to protect yourself? Brock’s ITS encourages you to change your passwords right away, and then verify information on your account such as security questions that may have been changed to allow outside access to your account even after a password change. They also suggest disconnecting your computer from the internet and running offline anti-virus and malware detection and removal software.
For more information on cyber security and how to protect your technology, visit brocku.ca/information-technology/security/hacked