May 9, 2012

Canada’s Cybercrime Report Card: Better or Worse in 2012?


Last May 2011, we conducted an analysis of Canada’s cyber security risk profile, which led to the discovery of a disturbing trend. Canada had become the newest breeding ground of cybercriminal activity.

In the hopes that things would get better, we conducted an exact comparison of the same cybersecurity stats one year later. And we were even more disturbed to see that in Q1 2012, hackers are still taking advantage of Canada’s “squeaky clean” cyber reputation and remotely controlling Canadian servers to carry out their criminal attacks.

Across the board, we’re seeing all types of malicious content coming out of the Great White North. For example:

  • 170% Jump in Hosted Phishing Sites - Canada ranks #2 in the world for hosted phishing sites, jumping 170 percent in the last year. This is a significant increase and the country ranks ahead of some of the best known offenders like Egypt and Russia.
  • 39% Increase in Bot Networks - Cybercriminals’ command and control centers are finding that Canadians make great hosts. In the past year, Canada saw a 39 percent increase in bot network activity.
  • 239% Increase in Malicious Websites - The number of malicious URLs is also on the rise in Canada. Canadian computer users beware, Canada saw a 239 percent jump in malicious Canadian websites.

The bottom line is that things are getting worse, and it’s a worldwide trend. As we’ve stated in our 2012 Threat Report, in the past year alone, there has been a major increase in malicious sites and exploit kits and people are getting increasingly redirected to bad sites.

What’s going on in Canada is testament to the continuation of a very bad trend. In the past, malicious content has traditionally been hosted on servers in places like Europe. But, now the bad guys are shifting their infrastructures to sites that are hosted in countries that traditionally have had better reputations.

Even after last year’s discovery, we still have not seen any big takedowns of malicious sites in Canada. In fact, malicious sites seem to stay up longer than in other countries. The public and private sector need to work together to effectively make this happen. The question is, will they finally be able to do so moving forward?

Here's a map that shows the top countries hosting phishing sites for the first part of this year. You can clearly see that Canada now holds the number two position for hosting this type of malicious content.

Map of phishing sites


Forcepoint-authored blog posts are based on discussions with customers and additional research by our content teams.

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