Coffee Briefing Sept. 26 – Cybercrime on the rise in Canada; CGI selected by Scotiabank to deploy enterprise payments platform; IBM aims to train two million learners in AI by 2026; and more | #cybercrime | #infosec

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Cybercrime on the rise in Canada, small businesses vulnerable

Gearing up for Cybersecurity Awareness Month 2023, a new survey by Mastercard has highlighted the surge in cybercrime in the country, particularly affecting small businesses. Since the onset of the pandemic, cyberattacks in Canada have spiked by a staggering 600 per cent.

Small businesses, often lacking the necessary resources and expertise to combat cyber threats, find themselves in a precarious position. According to the survey, these businesses struggle to invest in essential cybersecurity tools, and only 16 per cent of small business owners feel confident in knowing the right steps to take following a cyberattack. Additionally, just 18 per cent express full confidence in their business’s ability to recover from an attack within the next six months.

To assist small businesses in bolstering their cybersecurity defenses, Mastercard has partnered with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) to launch the Cybersecurity Academy. This initiative offers lessons and free tools to meet the unique needs of small businesses.

Furthermore, Mastercard’s collaboration with Digital Main Street will see the release of a video course in October, educating small and medium enterprises on cybersecurity, leveraging the expertise of Mastercard’s cyber specialists and Digital Main Street’s knowledge.

CGI selected by Scotiabank to deploy enterprise payments platform

Technology company CGI has announced it was selected to deploy CGI All Payments for Scotiabank, one of Canada’s multinational banks. This enterprise payments platform will support Scotiabank’s efforts to enhance its payment solutions on a global scale.

CGI All Payments is designed to be scalable and adaptable, making it compatible with a variety of IT ecosystems and cloud environments, the company said in a release. It integrates with CGI’s other financial management products, and was built with an API-enabled architecture following ISO 20022 standards.

IBM aims to train two million learners in AI by 2026


In a move to address the global artificial intelligence (AI) skills deficit, IBM plans to train two million learners in AI by the end of 2026, with a particular emphasis on underrepresented communities.

IBM’s strategy for achieving this goal includes expanding collaborations with universities across the globe, forming partnerships to provide AI education to adult learners and introducing new generative AI coursework through IBM SkillsBuild. These initiatives will build upon IBM’s existing programs and career development platforms, enhancing accessibility to AI education and technical roles, it said.

A recent global study conducted by the IBM Institute of Business Value revealed that surveyed executives anticipate a need for 40 per cent of their workforce, predominantly comprising entry-level positions, to undergo reskilling in the next three years due to the implementation of AI. This underscores the growing demand for new skills and roles in the field of generative AI.

Justina Nixon-Saintil, IBM VP and chief impact officer, stressed the importance of AI skills in the future workforce, saying, “AI skills will be essential to tomorrow’s workforce. That’s why we are investing in AI training, with a commitment to reach two million learners in three years, and expanding IBM SkillsBuild to collaborate with universities and nonprofits on new generative AI education for learners all over the world.”

WEMAX, INC. partners with Best Buy CA


WEMAX, INC. has announced a partnership with Best Buy CA, aimed at expanding its audience reach to Canadian consumers. As part of this collaboration, Best Buy CA will serve as the primary platform for the sale of WEMAX’s certified open-box and refurbished products.

In offering new and used products through Best Buy CA, WEMAX is broadening its sustainability efforts in the consumer electronics industry by extending the life cycle of its products.

WEMAX’s partnership with Best Buy CA and the launch of its online shop signify the company’s desire to expand its offerings to Canadian consumers while contributing to sustainability in the electronics industry, it said in a release.

Interac e-Transfer witnesses 25 per cent year-over-year growth amidst the rise of Canadian side hustles


As Canadians increasingly explore side hustles to supplement their income, a recent survey conducted by Interac Corp. sheds light on a ‘nine-to-thrive’ trend gaining momentum. While financial gain often serves as the initial motivation for starting a side hustle, the survey revealed that more than half (55 per cent) of respondents found their side hustles to be unexpectedly fulfilling. Three-quarters (76 per cent) intend to continue their side businesses alongside their primary jobs, while nearly two in 10 (17 per cent) are considering a full transition, turning their passion projects into full-fledged careers.

The satisfaction derived from these entrepreneurial pursuits is closely tied to specific milestones, the research noted. For some, it’s the joy of making that inaugural sale (22 per cent), while for others, it’s reaching the milestone of profitability (25 per cent) or issuing their first employee paycheque (23 per cent). The study revealed that Interac e-Transfer played a part in supporting these accomplishments, with nearly two-thirds of entrepreneurs surveyed (62 per cent) using the service for business-related payments, contributing to a 25 per cent year-over-year growth in transaction volume.

The survey encompassed a broader spectrum of entrepreneurs, including freelancers and small business owners with up to four employees. Key takeaways from this group include:

Startup Surge: Nearly half of Canadian entrepreneurs (46 per cent) have observed a surge in individuals within their personal networks venturing into side hustles in the past year. Additionally, four in 10 (40 per cent) are currently contemplating at least one new venture.

The Means to Succeed: New business owners expressed a lack of financial confidence and knowledge in their initial stages. Only 15 per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs reported high confidence in managing their business finances from the outset. Nearly half (49 per cent) faced challenges in finding suitable information or advice, lacked financial confidence, struggled with access to financial tools, and encountered difficulties in tracking finances.

More to explore

Despite AI, infosec leaders have ‘job security forever,’ conference told

Cyber threats are so pervasive that artificial intelligence solutions aren’t going put chief information and security officers out of a job, a financial conference in Toronto was told this week.

Lenovo introduces new solutions for edge AI workloads

Lenovo has announced Lenovo TruScale for Edge and AI services, and a new server, the ThinkEdge SE455 V3, to support intensive remote AI workloads.

Zoho announces Zoho Billing for SMBs, talks GenAI

At its Zoholics user conference in Toronto last week, Zoho announced the launch of Zoho Billing, which it described as an end-to-end billing solution for small and medium businesses.

Rogers leverages AI and SpaceX technology to fight wildfires in British Columbia

Rogers announced today that it is using SpaceX’s Swarm service, which provides low-bandwidth satellite connectivity to IoT devices, in order to deploy satellite-connected sensors to better predict wildfires in remote areas of British Columbia without wireless networks.

Air Canada admits hack of employee data

Canada’s national airline has admitted suffering what is says was a “brief” breach of security controls, although the statement from Air Canada doesn’t say when the incident happened or how much personal information the attacker accessed.

ServiceNow marries key products with generative AI in Now Platform Vancouver release

ServiceNow has announced generative AI integrations and new features as part of the Vancouver release of its Now Platform. Today’s release comes less than six months after the Utah release (the company names its releases after world locations, in alphabetical order).

DDoS attacks behind Canada border agency problems

Canada’s border control agency is the latest federal department to confirm it was hit by a recent wave of denial of service attacks.

Channel Bytes September 22, 2023 – Cisco to acquire Splunk; MapleSEC registration open; Aptum releases part 2 of cloud impact study; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

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If you live in Québec, or prefer to consume the latest technology news in French, our sister publication Direction Informatique has you covered. Follow them on Twitter as well.

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