Canadian bank breaches highlight rise of cyber threats as new exploitation strategies

Apparent attempts to extort two major Canadian banks highlight the increasing threat and variety of cyberattacks against major companies.

Attacks against BMO and CIBC-owned Simplii – that compromised the information of up to a combined 90,000 Canadians – made public Monday, appear to be the latest in a number of high-profile ransom attacks. The attacks have the banks in damage control mode, prompting them to assuage client concern about the safety of Canadian accounts.

CBC reported that it received a letter from someone who said they demanded a $1-million ransom from the targeted banks.

The banks would not confirm the CBC report Tuesday. BMO said only that a “threat” was made, but it has a policy of not making payments to fraudsters, while Simplii was similarly cryptic, saying only that fraudsters may have electronically accessed some data, but that its practice is not to pay

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