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1 min read

VC3 CEO Weighs in on Cybersecurity in $1M Saskatoon Cyber Theft


Can your employees spot a phishing email? The days of Nigerian princes offering fortunes to anyone who can help them transfer funds are gone, and in their place are more sophisticated correspondences that are hard for your spam folder (and many humans) to detect.

Earlier this month, the advancement of cyber scams hit Saskatoon hard as a high-tech criminal impersonated the CFO of a local construction company and managed to pilfer over $1 million dollars.

Ryan Vestby, VC3’s CEO, spoke with Global News to offer expert insight on the security issues surrounding the crime. “My understanding of the Saskatoon case [is] they did not catch this quick enough, and the money, if it’s outside the walls of Canada, it is as good as gone,” Vestby said.

Available evidence suggests that this was the result of a phishing scam where the thief was able to impersonate a trusted member of the company in order to gain access to sensitive financial information. Instances of this type of crime are growing daily, and this is only one recent example. In 2017, Edmonton’s MacEwan University had nearly $12 million stolen due to a phishing scam.

“I would almost call [it] a pandemic – a digital pandemic that’s happening where you’re seeing this more and more,” said Vestby, who recommended that corporations invest in cyber theft insurance to help recover funds when this happens.

Ethical Phishing: How VC3 Helps Protect Clients with Cybersecurity

One of the ways that VC3 helps to train and protect clients and our own employees is with the use of “ethical phishing.” Emails designed to look like typical phishing scams are sent out to see how many people are caught by them. We then teach people how to spot and avoid real scammers. This visual and hands-on simulation helps drive home how easy it can be to miss a scam and what can be done to avoid them.

Vestby, an Edmonton native, says this can be an especially big problem for Canadians who are known for being friendly, open, and trusting. “We have all of these traits that are perfect for cybercriminals,” he said.

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