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Privacy breaches paving way for new frontier of cyberwarfare: expert

Last Updated Jan 24, 2018 at 6:48 pm EDT

Amid news North Korean hackers targeted Ontario transportation agency Metrolinx, a security expert said he believes the next global wars will be fought online.

Cyber expert Mick Bhinder with IamI Authentications said when it comes to online threats, privacy is just the tip of the iceberg.

“I have to ask the question if it was a distraction,” he said. “I would ask the question and investigate (if it) was Metrolinx as the specific identified target or if it was an opportunity. Often hackers scour and run across the Internet looking for vulnerabilities, looking for points in.”

Metrolinx said the cyberattack did not access its safety systems or computer systems that operate its trains.

The agency said it was able to stop the malware attack, and no private information was breached.

Spokeswoman Anne Marie Aikins said the company is constantly updating its systems which are built to detect viruses like this one.

But Bhinder said even though the North Korean breach was thwarted, the public needs to stay vigilant and educated about the very real threat that could be caused by cyber breaches.

“Today’s real concern is what could hackers do to cause chaos, harm and a lot of grievance,” he said. “Hospital networks, power grids, policing system or networks, and it goes all the way from societal infrastructure services all the way down to banking, public services and retail.

“The list doesn’t stop. Not to paint a bad picture — the reality is we are all vulnerable.”