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BlackBerry Cylance 2020 Annual Threat Report Reveals Scope of Global Attack Surface Expansion
BlackBerry Limited released its annual 2020 Threat Report, which examines the latest adversarial techniques and tactics analyzed by BlackBerry Cylance threat researchers, and provides guidance organizations can leverage to mitigate risk. Key findings include the continued evolution of nation-state backed threat actor groups, the increased availability of sophisticated attack toolsets, as well as analysis on which targets are becoming more appealing to attackers and why. The report also details more select threats focused on targets like embedded technologies in connected vehicles, manufacturing and mobile devices, and those taking advantage of misconfigurations in cloud computing deployments. "New techniques to obscure malicious payloads and distribute attacks across multiple organizations paid off for threat actors in 2019," said Eric Cornelius, Chief Technology Officer at BlackBerry Cylance. "With the increasing ease of access to attack toolkits combined with the explosion of endpoints connected to organizations' networks, the global threat landscape for emerging threats will only continue to escalate in 2020."
In June of 2019, the City of Kitchener conducted its first-ever workforce census which asked employees to voluntarily answer a series of eight demographic questions intended to help better understand the make-up of its workforce. The questions focused on age, languages spoken, place of birth, Indigenous identity, racial/ethnic background, gender identity, sexual orientation and chronic conditions. On average, 1,766 employees answered each question, which represents an overall response rate of 80%. On Wednesday, the results of the workforce census were shared with City staff and members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. They are now available to the public at .
Monte McNaughton, Ontario's Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, visited Conestoga's Woodworking Centre on Friday, January 31 to announce a substantial government investment to address the need for skilled trades workers in the community. "On any given day, there are more than 18,000 vacant jobs in the Kitchener-Waterloo-Barrie region," McNaughton said. "Those are paycheques waiting to be collected. But the workers aren't there. My mission is to bridge that skills gap in Kitchener-Waterloo and throughout the province.” The Ontario government will invest $9.2 million for Conestoga to provide in-class training to apprentices in 21 trades in 2020-21. Training will occur at campuses in Kitchener, Waterloo Guelph, and Cambridge.
The important work of the local business community will take centre stage at the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce’s annual Business Excellence Awards in March at Tapestry Hall. The Chamber’s adjudicating committee is in the process of reviewing 90 nominations to select the winners in 11 award categories. “It’s never an easy task to select just a few since there are so many worthy businesses and individuals among the nominees,” says Cambridge Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Greg Durocher. “And this year it’s even more difficult due to the incredible number of nominations we’ve received.” Hundreds of business leaders and their guests are expected to attend the event which takes place Thursday, March 26 at Cambridge’s newest event space Tapestry Hall. The Business Excellence Awards is the Chamber’s premier event and has honoured the contributions and achievements of business leaders since 2000.
On 11 February 2020, the University of Waterloo School of Accounting and Finance was awarded the winning title of the 2020 CFA Society Toronto Local Ethics Challenge. This year’s local champions from the University of Waterloo include Jenny Chen, Effy Gao, Joanne Leung, and Tristan Yuen. The team demonstrated their ability to expertly negotiate ethical dilemmas in a real-life investment scenario and presented their case to a panel of seasoned investment professionals. “It taught us to recognize real-life ethical issues and implement best practices in a realistic manner,” said the University of Waterloo team.
We can not do our best work on an empty tank. Does your strategy ensure that your most valuable resources are operating at full potential? In order to do their best, our employees and colleagues need to feel their best. Whether it’s achieving aggressive sales targets, developing new product ideas, or providing excellent customer service, our strategic initiatives require people to be in top form. Typically, self-care is not included as part of a business strategy and as a result our most important resource is at risk: people are burning out. Self-care means doing those things that support our mental, emotional, and physical health. This may mean getting enough sleep, staying hydrated, setting healthy boundaries, taking a break, spending time with friends, or going for a walk outside.
Are Canadian workers stepping up to the bargaining table? According to new research from global staffing firm Robert Half, just over one-third of Canadian professionals surveyed (36 per cent) tried to negotiate a higher salary with their last job offer. The majority of those who didn't negotiate said they were happy with the salary offered (59 per cent), followed by 19 per cent, who said they wanted more money but were uncomfortable negotiating. In a similar survey of workers in the United States, more than half of professionals (54 per cent) tried to negotiate salary with their last job offer. Of those who didn't negotiate, 55 per cent were happy with the amount offered, while others wanted more money but were either worried they would lose the role if they asked, or felt uncomfortable having the conversation (18 per cent, respectively).
Consumer prices rose by 0.3% m-o-m. This was larger than the consensus expectation of an increase of 0.2%. The upside surprise helped boost the annual rate of inflation to 2.4%, up from 2.2%. This was also an upside surprise compared to the consensus expectation of 2.3% y-o-y. In the month, prices for poultry and vegetables helped lift food prices by 1.1%. There were also atypically large increases in men's and children's clothing, personal care supplies and equipment, and passenger vehicle prices. Cigarette prices also rose due to an increase in tobacco taxes. Though the impact on the m-o-m change in consumer prices was small, we also note that gasoline prices rose 0.4%, which was unexpected, given preliminary data pointing toward a small decline.
Most owners of medium sized businesses in Canada are now in their 50’s. Almost half of them have indicated, within the next 5 years, they plan to se ll their business to fund retirement. The majority of these owners have also confirmed they plan to sell their business to a third party. Selling a business is a complex task. Many busines s owners have never been through the process before and the stakes are big - in many cases, their ability to co mfortably retire. Selective disclosure secures top dollar. Some mid-market divestiture brokers in Canada have taken to advertising bulletins of ‘Businesses for S ale’ on their company websites providing detailed descripti ons of the business itself, and actually disclosing top line sales and profitability numbers to the world at large.
Analysis by researchers at the University of Waterloo using artificial intelligence (AI) supports the conventional wisdom that taking care of yourself makes you feel good. Researchers built an AI computer model to identify key words in more than 700,000 anonymous online journal entries written by over 67,000 users of a mobile mood-tracking application. They found strong associations between positive moods and getting enough sleep, eating well and exercising. Even activities such as getting a haircut or having a manicure were linked to feeling calmer and happier. So, it turns out that mom was right - taking care of yourself really does make you feel better! “What appears to make people happy are simple things they can do for themselves, such as resting well, eating well, exercising, meditating, yoga,” said Lukasz Golab, an engineering professor at Waterloo and supervisor on the study.
Regional councillors voted to support the Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation’s research assessing the demand for meetings and conventions in the area. The purpose of the study is to understand future demand for a major convention facility locally and to provide a breakdown of that demand by event type, event size and frequency of occurrence. If the study indicates significant potential for Waterloo Region to attract new meetings and convention business with a larger facility, more study will be required.
Advocis, The Financial Advisors Association of Canada, launched the Professional Financial Advisor designation, or PFA, the new benchmark credential for Canadian financial advisors. Designed to meet the changing requirements and expectations of the marketplace, the PFA designation will distinguish true professionals with the essential knowledge and skills to help Canadians achieve their financial goals. “Sound financial advice is needed now more than ever, and governments are moving forward to protect consumers with regulations that require all financial advisors to hold a valid credential,” explained Advocis President and CEO Greg Pollock. “The PFA designation will help ensure the quality of advice available to Canadians and close the credentials gap, as three quarters of licensed or registered advisors do not currently hold a professional designation of any kind.”
Some jobs by their very nature seem more meaningful than others. But really, all jobs are potentially meaningful. All companies serve their customers, their stakeholders, and their workforce, and the employees are in a unique position to make a real difference. Quint Studer says it's up to leaders to help people see this. Great leaders create an environment where employees feel valued (and valuable), and this is what connects them to purpose. "There is no such thing as a job that does not count," says Studer, author of Wall Street Journal bestseller The Busy Leader's Handbook: How to Lead People and Places That Thrive. "And yet, we tend to work in environments where an employee is more likely to hear about their work when there is a problem. It is assumed that the impact of work is obvious, and because of that, leaders are not taking time to emphasize to each worker the why of their job and the important contribution it makes."
OpenText issued the 2020 Webroot Threat Report, highlighting not only the agility and innovation of cybercriminals who continue to seek out new ways to evade defenses, but also their commitment to long-established attack methods. Most notably, Webroot observed a 640 per cent increase in phishing attempts and a 125 per cent increase in malware targeting Windows 7. The report is derived from metrics captured and analyzed by Webroot’s advanced, cloud-based machine learning architecture: the Webroot® Platform. “In the cybersecurity industry the only certainty is that there is no certainty, and there is no single silver bullet solution,” said Hal Lonas, Senior Vice President and CTO, SMB and Consumer, OpenText. “The findings from this year’s report underline why it’s critical that businesses and users of all sizes, ensure they’re not only protecting their data but also preparing for future attacks by taking simple steps toward cyber resilience through a defense-in-depth approach that addresses user behavior and the best protection for network and endpoints.”
In 2019-20, there are 149 tax expenditures offered by the government of Ontario at a projected cost of $44.4 billion. All tax expenditures incur a cost to government, either in the form of a reduction in tax revenue or an increase in program spending. If tax expenditure spending was identified separately in the Ontario budget, it would be the second highest expense sector after health spending. The Province’s tax expenditures are intended to achieve many different policy objectives, including encouraging investment and savings, providing support to businesses and assisting low-income individuals and families. However, most tax expenditures are not subject to on-going oversight by the legislature, so it is difficult to determine if those objectives are being achieved. This is in stark contrast to the Province’s program spending, which is subject to review and approval by MPPs each year.
The Financial Accountability Office of Ontario (FAO) has officially launched a new educational video series entitled #FAOExplains. Each Friday, the FAO will release shareables that highlight key financial and economic concepts under the hashtag #FiscalFriday. We encourage you to share the content with your networks and help improve financial literacy in Ontario.
Chronic homelessness describes people who experience homelessness for more than six months. In January, the last family experiencing chronic homelessness in Waterloo Region moved into supportive housing operated by House of Friendship. Families were also supported by YW Kitchener and by Lutherwood, an agency that runs the Region-funded Families in Transition (FIT) program. The program works with families to find homes before tackling other life challenges they may face, and offers support to help them stay housed if needed. “It is amazing to be part of this story,” said Jessica Bondy, Director of Housing Services at House of Friendship. “This is a testament to what our community can accomplish by working together, being flexible, and looking for innovative solutions to such a complex problem. We look forward to more opportunities to help families and individuals in need find a place to call home.”
The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, introduced a Bill to amend the Citizenship Act to change Canada’s Oath of Citizenship. The bill responds to the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission by inserting text that refers to the rights of Indigenous Peoples. “The Oath is a solemn declaration that all newcomers recite during the citizenship ceremony. With this amendment, we will take an important step towards reconciliation by encouraging new Canadians to fully appreciate and respect the significant role of Indigenous Peoples in forming Canada’s fabric and identity,” said The Honourable Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Over 6000 local education workers from across Waterloo Region will converge on Downtown Kitchener this Friday, February 21 to “Picket for Education.” Members of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario, the Ontario English Catholic Teachers Association, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, and Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens will begin their march in Downtown Kitchener at 10:30 am. There will also be a formal presentation with speeches from local union leaders, community members and dignitaries beginning at 12 noon in Carl Zehr Square. “Education workers in this province are united around the belief that investments in public education are investments in our future,” said OECTA President Patrick Etmanski. “At the bargaining table, this government is demanding that our members accept larger class sizes, mandatory e-learning courses, and cuts to supports for our most vulnerable students. This is unacceptable.”
CFA Society Toronto and CFA Society Ottawa have selected four Ontario university teams as finalists for the annual local CFA Institute Research Challenge, a global equity research competition among student teams from elite business and finance programs. The CFA Institute Research Challenge is a competition between university-sponsored teams that research a designated publicly traded company, prepare a written report on that selected company and then present their findings to a panel of judges. The competition has three levels: local, regional, and global. Winners at the local level advance to compete against teams within their geographic region at the regional level. Winning teams at the regional level advance to compete at the global level. Only one team will be awarded as the global winner.
On Sunday May 3, 2020, the 2nd annual Waterloo Region Children’s Business Fair will host 90 young entrepreneur businesses at Tapestry Hall, in Cambridge’s Gaslight District. They will be showcasing their hard work, and selling their products and services to the community! The Waterloo Region Children's Business Fair gives children the opportunity to launch their very own start up business and showcase it to the community (and the world!). Participants will develop a brand, create a product or service, build a marketing strategy, practice their pitch and then open for customers at our one-day marketplace. At the fair, Kidpreneurs have an opportunity to sell their products while networking with other startups and receiving valuable insights from our amazing mentors.