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Information update… (July 2021)

This article was written 8 years ago, since then the situation has greatly changed.

Research carried out by “ResearchGate.Net” in 2017 showed that Canada is no more in the top 10 malicious countries. In this 4 years old study, the United States is number 1. They are followed far behind by Russia and China. Here is the link to the study in question: “WebEye, Automated Collection of Malicious HTTP Traffic ».

In 2020, the “Blackfrog.com” site published an article on the status of “ransomware” attacks. In this study, Canada is ranked as the 4th country with the most ransomware attacks. The United States suffers the most attacks of this type. Here is the link to the article with the full study: “The State of Ransomware 2020”.

Knowing that WordPress based sites are some of the most targeted and popular on the web, we’ve created an article to help people avoid falling victim to malware. Here is the link to our article “How to protect WordPress”. The importance of protecting our site should not be underestimated to avoid being part malware sites.

Original Blog

OTTAWA — A patchwork of Internet and digital security laws across the country has contributed to Canada’s new number three ranking worldwide as the country of choice for cyber-criminals to set up sites with advanced malware, according to a new study.

But it isn’t just foreign criminals who are setting up shop on Canadian servers to take advantage of Canada’s good reputation in cyberspace: Foreign governments are doing the same to launch corporate espionage attacks on domestic and international companies, according to the 2013 cyber-crime report card from Websense Security Labs.

The report

According to the report card, Canada ranks third in the world for hosting malware, ahead of countries such as Germany, Russia and even China, which has faced allegations and accusations that it enables cyber-attacks and sponsors corporate espionage.

Our main discovery, really, is that foreign companies and governments are setting up bases in Canada to drive corporate espionage attacks. Those attacks are more advanced than previous years.

Carl Leonard, a senior manager at Websense, a San Diego-based web security company.

The findings in this third annual report build on conclusions from previous years that suggested Canada is increasingly an unwitting safe haven for cyber-criminals. Leonard said that because Canadian websites are considered safe spaces online, those websites that host malware are not usually flagged by most security software.

This also makes it difficult to identify command and control servers, which hackers use to send instructions to their malware, because communication between Canadian computers and domestic servers is a normal activity. This helps hackers evade detection for as long as possible, he said.

ISPs really, should take a responsibility to monitor for malicious behaviour. ISPs really need to make it harder for the bad guys.

Carl Leonard

“Legislation can certainly help in that regard,” he said. “When the public and private sector work together … that would make it more of a challenge.”

What has Changed?

The big change from previous years, Leonard said, is not only that foreign governments are now using Canada to launch attacks, but that those attacks are becoming more sophisticated to avoid detection if possible or make it difficult to pinpoint who is responsible for the attack.

“We’re seeing an increasing focus in the more insidious elements of attacks. They’re not always using the simplest tools,” Leonard said in an interview from London, U.K., where he’s based.

“The reputation of Canada is that it’s not normally associated with advanced attacks.”

There was a 25-per-cent increase in the number of websites hosting malware, according to the report, pushing Canada into the top-10 for countries hosting malware. The United States is No. 1, followed by Russia, Germany, and China.

Those websites, the report says, seem to stay up longer in Canada than in other countries. Investigations of sites can take a year or two before police are able to take down a website, but most cyber-criminals have moved to another corner of the Internet before then.

“Ultimately it comes down to communication across boundaries,” Leonard said. “There is a good deal of information circulating in law enforcement globally. I don’t believe all of that is shared.”

Top 10 Countries for Hosting Advanced Malware:

  1. United States
  2. Netherlands
  3. Canada

Top Countries Hosting Malware:

  1. United States
  2. Russia
  3. Germany
  4. Canada (25 per cent increase from 2012)

Top Countries Hosting Command-and-control Servers:

  1. United States
  2. Netherlands
  3. Germany
  4. Canada (83 per cent increase from 2012)

Top 10 Countries Hosting Phishing Sites

  1. United States
  2. German
  3. United Kingdom
  4. Canada (67 per cent decrease from 2012)

(Source: Websense Security Labs, 2013 Cybercrime Report Card)

Updated the 2 juillet 2021