A cyber security incident at Indigo Books & Music Inc entered its fifth day on Monday, highlighting the growing risk of cyberattacks on Canadian companies and consumers.
Experts say the ongoing outage of the bookstore’s website serves as a warning of the growing threats facing organizations and individuals online.
“These attacks are becoming more prevalent and more sophisticated,” said Charles Finlay, executive director of Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Toronto Metropolitan University.
“It is not if but when these attacks will happen,” he said. “Every organization has either already been the victim of an attack, or will be the victim of an attack.”
Last week, IndiGo said it had experienced a “cyber security incident” affecting its website and electronic payment system. The company said it is working with third-party experts to investigate and resolve the situation.
While the bookstore is once again able to accept debit, credit and gift cards in stores, Indigo’s website remained offline on Monday.
On social media, IndiGo told customers that it has changed its in-store payment technology in response to the incident.
The bookstore has said customers may experience delays for partial or all online orders and returns, while its stores are still unable to accept returns in person.
IndiGo spokeswoman Melissa Perry said the company continues to work with third-party experts to investigate the situation and understand whether any customer data was accessed.
Canadian retailers have experienced an increasing number of cyberattacks in recent months.
Empire Company Ltd., the parent company of Sobe, experienced a security breach late last year.
The incident, which occurred in early November, left customers unable to fill prescriptions at the chain’s pharmacies for four days, while other in-store functions such as self-checkout machines, use of gift cards and redemption of loyalty points were closed for about a week. Was off-line for.
Empire later stated that the attack was expected to cost $25 million after insurance recoveries.
“It takes time for corporations to develop a truly comprehensive cyber security plan,” said Mark Hubbard, senior vice president of information technology at FirstOnSight Canada.
“There are companies out there ripe for the picking and these threat actors are pulling out these attacks and just seeing what sticks,” he said. “Some organizations recover fairly quickly but it can be disastrous for others.”
Experts say that while larger companies generally survive cyberattacks, smaller businesses often don’t do as well.
More than half of small businesses shut down within six months of a cyberattack, said Mandy D’Otremont, vice-president of marketing partnerships at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, which runs a training program for business owners and their employees to improve cyber security. provides. ,
“There is a real risk to the existence of small businesses,” she said. “Cyber criminals are always developing more advanced and sophisticated ways to trick you and breach business security.”
He said the average cost of a successful cyber attack to a small business is $26,000.
“These attacks can be devastating to organizations,” Finlay said. “A significant proportion of businesses that suffer serious cyber security attacks do not survive.”
He added that cyber attacks can prevent organizations from completing transactions as well as spoil company relationships with customers and employees.
“They lose the value of transactions they cannot fulfill. There is a significant cost to restore the system. Relationships with consumers are disrupted. Internal processes are disrupted. Employee morale is impacted. Regulatory scrutiny It is,” Finlay said. “Cyber attacks are incredibly devastating.”
The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has said it is aware of the IndiGo cyber security incident and is in communication with the organization “to obtain further information, including a formal breach report, and to determine next steps.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on February 13, 2023
Companies in this story: (TSX:IDG)
Brett Bundle, The Canadian Press