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LifeLabs hack: What Canadians need to know about the health data breach – Global News

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A data breach at LifeLabs, potentially affecting up to 15 million Canadians, was revealed Tuesday.

The company, which performs medical lab tests, apologized for the security breach in a statement, adding that it was first discovered several weeks ago.


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LifeLabs reveals data breach, possibly affecting up to 15 million Canadians

The CEO of the company, Charles Brown, called the incident a wake-up call for the industry.

“Whether you’re a private company, a government, a hospital, we’re all seeing these attacks rise and there’s more and more of them and we’ve collectively got to do more to make sure all our customers feel secure,” he said in a letter to customers.

Here’s what you need to know.






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LifeLabs hack exposes personal data of patients


LifeLabs hack exposes personal data of patients

What information was compromised?

Information that was compromised included health card numbers, names, email addresses, login, passwords and dates of birth. However, LifeLabs said it wasn’t sure how many of the files were accessed during the breach.

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It added the hackers did obtain test results from as many as 85,000 Ontario residents, dated 2016 and earlier.

The company said it hired cybersecurity experts to secure the system and determine the scope of the attack, and paid an undisclosed amount of money as ransom to secure the information.

How serious is the hack?

Ann Cavoukian, the former privacy commissioner for Ontario and executive director and founder of Privacy by Design, told Global News Radio that the “most sensitive of information” was compromised in the hack.

“You would think that a company that is entrusted with so much of that information would have the strongest security measures imaginable,” she said. “Clearly, they didn’t.”

Cavoukian said an investigation into the hack, currently being conducted by the Ontario and B.C. privacy commissioners, will evaluate how something like this could have happened — and why the company took weeks to reveal it.

In his letter, Brown said system issues related to the breach have been fixed and Tuesday’s announcement is “in the interest of transparency.”

What can you do?

Cavoukian added that there’s not much those affected by the data breach can really do at this point. For starters, she said those who are unsure whether their data was affected should contact LifeLabs. They can also take steps such as changing their passwords.

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While the company is still determining exactly how many people were affected, it said the majority are from Ontario and B.C. It also said it would contact Ontario customers whose test results were accessed.

The company has set up a phone line specifically to handle related inquiries.

LifeLabs also said Tuesday that customers concerned about the safety of their data will be able to receive “one free year of protection that includes dark web monitoring and identity theft insurance.”






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How to protect yourself from a data breach


How to protect yourself from a data breach

Why was a ransom paid?

Brown said in the release that the decision to pay a ransom was not easy, but he felt the responsibility to do everything possible to retrieve data.

“We wanted to get the data back,” he said. “We thought it was the smart thing to do because it was just in the best interests of our customers.”

Paying ransom is a fairly common business decision that can have some negative consequences, according to David Masson, director of enterprise security for cybersecurity firm Darktrace.


READ MORE:
More than 28 million Canadians impacted by a data breach in past 12 months, privacy watchdog says

“If you pay, you’re telling the threat actors that you will pay. You’re quite likely to get hacked again or they’ll tell other threat actors that these people pay. So you could put yourself in a whole world of pain,” he said.

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It also implies that the company has no other option to get the data back and doesn’t guarantee that all will be returned. Masson also believes the data never left the LifeLabs system but was encrypted.

— With files from The Canadian Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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GameStop, BlackBerry, AMC stocks see trading halts as social media hype drives volatility – Global News

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Stocks of GameStop, BlackBerry and AMC Entertainment Holdings all saw trading halts on Wednesday morning amid continued volatility widely attributed to social media chatter.

The New York Stock Exchange briefly paused trading on GameStop and AMC stocks shortly before 10:15 a.m. ET, while the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) announced at 9:54 a.m. ET a temporary suspension of BlackBerry shares.

READ MORE: Does Bitcoin have a place in every investment portfolio?

The moves come as all three stocks have been soaring for a fourth day running, sparking calls for scrutiny of a social media-driven trading frenzy.


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You’ve Got Mail: A history of the BlackBerry


You’ve Got Mail: A history of the BlackBerry – May 31, 2017

The rally has also forced some hedge funds to retreat with heavy losses. Short-seller Citron, a target for some of the individual traders who have helped drive huge gains for a number of niche Wall Street stocks in the past week, said in a video post it had abandoned its bet on GameStop shares falling.

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With commentators and lawyers calling for scrutiny of the moves, Nasdaq chief Adena Friedman said exchanges and regulators needed to pay attention to the potential for “pump and dump” schemes driven by chatter on social media.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) declined to comment.

READ MORE: Will the 2nd coronavirus wave wipe away Canada’s movie theatres?

Mainstream commentators have questioned the justification of moves in a number of heavily-hyped stocks in recent days, at a time when some on Wall Street are wondering if months of stellar overall gains have driven shares into bubble territory.

GameStop’s stock has surged nearly 700 per cent in the past two weeks, upping the struggling video retailer’s market value from $1.24 billion to more than $10 billion. BlackBerry is up 185 per cent and on course for its best month ever.

Along with AMC and Nokia Oyj, the two were again among the most heavily traded in pre-market deals, with Reddit discussion threads again humming with chatter about the stocks.

“These are not normal times and while the (Reddit) … thing is fascinating to watch, I can’t help but think that this is unlikely to end well for someone,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.


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‘Tenet’ movie release seen as litmus test for industry


‘Tenet’ movie release seen as litmus test for industry – Aug 26, 2020

The advent of easily access apps like Robinhood that allow ordinary Americans to make stock market trades at almost no initial cost has spurred a boom in direct investment over the past year as trillions of dollars in official stimulus drove markets higher.

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On GameStop, the retail army have pitched themselves against some of the institutional short-sellers — a traditional area for hedge funds — who promote and bet on falls in companies they judge as weak.

Overall, short-sellers in GameStop were down $5 billion on a mark-to-market, net-of-financing basis in 2021, which included $876 million of losses early Tuesday, according to analytics firm S3 Partners.

Barron’s reported late on Tuesday that the top securities regulator in Massachusetts believes trading in GameStop stock suggests there is something “systemically wrong” with the options trading around the stock.

Others say that the trades are at the end of the day up to the investors who make them.

“The SEC has investigated Robinhood before, but when you have a structure in place that allows the zero-cost trading platforms to operate – how do you stop that flow?” said Neil Campling, head of tech media and telecom research at Mirabaud Securities.

Trading in GameStop stock was halted for volatility nine times on Monday and five times on Tuesday.

— With files from Global News money reporter Erica Alini

© 2021 Reuters

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2 short sellers admit defeat, bail out at huge loss as GameStop share surge hits 1000% – CBC.ca

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In the David and Goliath saga surrounding the struggling retail chain GameStop, Goliath has fallen.

Two Goliaths, actually.

A pair of professional investment firms that placed big bets that money-losing video game retailer GameStop’s stock will crash have largely abandoned their positions. The victors: an army of smaller investors who have been rallying on Reddit and elsewhere online to support GameStop’s stock and beat back the professionals.

One of the two major investors that surrendered, Citron Research, acknowledged Wednesday in a YouTube video that it unwound the majority of its bet that GameStop stock would fall. Andrew Left, who runs Citron, said it took “a loss, 100 per cent” to do so, but that does not change his view that GameStop is a loser.

“We move on. Nothing has changed with GameStop except the stock price,” Left said. He did acknowledge that Citron is taking a fresh look at how it bets against companies, in light of the GameStop campaign.

Melvin Capital is also exiting GameStop, with manager Gabe Plotkin telling CNBC that the hedge fund was taking a significant loss. He denied rumours that the hedge fund will fail.

The size of the losses taken by Citron and Melvin are unknown.

GameStop’s stock surged as high as $380 Wednesday morning, after sitting below $18 just a few weeks ago.

GameStop’s stock has long been the target of investors betting that its stock will fall as it struggles in an industry increasingly going online. The retailer lost $1.6 billion over the last 12 quarters, and its stock fell for six straight years before rebounding in 2020.

That pushed investors to sell GameStop’s stock short.

WATCH | How short selling works:

An animated explanation of how people make money from stocks losing value 0:46

Essentially, these short sellers borrowed shares of GameStop and sold them in hopes of buying them back later at a lower price and pocketing the difference. GameStop is one of the most shorted stocks on Wall Street.

But its stock began rising sharply earlier this month after a co-founder of Chewy, the online retailer of pet supplies, joined the company’s board. The thought was that he could help in the company’s digital transformation.

Smaller investors pushing stock higher

At the same time, smaller investors gathering on social media have been exhorting each other to keep pushing the stock higher.

There is no overriding reason why GameStop has attracted those smaller investors, but there is a distinct component of revenge against Wall Street in communications online.

Over the past three months, shares of GameStop Corp., which has been buffeted by a shift in gaming technology, have spiked well over 1,000 per cent. Shares were up another 100 per cent at the opening bell Wednesday.

That has created titanic losses for major Wall Street players who have “shorted” the stock, which means they borrowed shares and sold them, hoping to buy them back at a cheaper price and pocket the difference.

As of Tuesday, the losses had already topped $5 billion in 2021, according to S3 Partners.

The phenomenon does not appear to be fading.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the theatre chain that has been ravaged by the pandemic, posted a quarterly loss this month exceeding $900 million.

It appears, however, that AMC has become the next battleground in the fight between smaller, retail investors and Wall Street.

Shares of AMC spiked 260 per cent when trading began Wednesday and #SaveAMC is trending on Twitter.

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In GameStop saga unfolding on Wall Street, 2 Goliaths fall – CTV News

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A David and Goliath saga is unfolding in financial markets over the stock price of struggling retail chain GameStop. On Wednesday, Goliath walked away from the battle.

Two Goliaths, actually.

A pair of professional investment firms that placed big bets that money-losing video game retailer GameStop’s stock will crash have essentially admitted defeat. The victor, for now at least, is a volunteer army of smaller investors who have been rallying on Reddit and elsewhere online to support GameStop’s stock and beat back the professionals.

GameStop’s stock surged as high as US$380 Wednesday morning, after sitting below $18 just a few weeks ago.

One of the two major investors that surrendered, Citron Research, acknowledged Wednesday in a YouTube video that it unwound the majority of its bet that GameStop stock would fall. Andrew Left, who runs Citron, said it took “a loss, 100%” to do so, but that does not change his view that GameStop’s stock will eventually fall sharply.

“We move on. Nothing has changed with GameStop except the stock price,” Left said. He also said he “has respect for the market,” which can temporarily run stock prices up higher than critics think they should go.

Melvin Capital is also exiting GameStop, with manager Gabe Plotkin telling CNBC that the hedge fund was taking a significant loss. He denied rumours that the hedge fund will fail.

The size of the losses taken by Citron and Melvin are unknown.

GameStop’s stock has long been the target of investors betting that its stock will fall as it struggles in an industry increasingly going online. The retailer lost $1.6 billion over the last 12 quarters, and its stock fell for six straight years before rebounding in 2020.

That pushed investors to sell GameStop’s stock short. Essentially, these short sellers borrowed shares of GameStop and sold them in hopes of buying them back later at a lower price and pocketing the difference. GameStop is one of the most shorted stocks on Wall Street.

But its stock began rising sharply earlier this month after a co-founder of Chewy, the online retailer of pet supplies, joined the company’s board. The thought is that he could help in the company’s digital transformation.

At the same time, smaller investors gathering on social media have been exhorting each other to keep pushing the stock higher. There is no overriding reason why GameStop has attracted those smaller investors, but there is a distinct component of revenge against Wall Street in communications online.

“The hedge fund owners are crying as a result of us,” one user wrote on a Reddit discussion about GameStop stock. “We have the power in this situation, not anyone else as long as we stay strong!”

Almost immediately after, another user shouted in all capital letters, “BUY AND HOLD WE WILL BE VICTORIOUS.”

The battle has created big losses for major Wall Street players who shorted the stock. As GameStop’s stock soared and some of the critics got out of their bets, they had to buy GameStop shares to do so. That can accelerate gains even more, creating a feedback loop. As of Tuesday, the losses had already topped $5 billion in 2021, according to S3 Partners.

Much of professional Wall Street remains pessimistic that GameStop’s stock can hold onto its moonshot gains.

Analysts at BofA Global Research raised their price target for GameStop on Wednesday from $1.60, all the way up to $10. It was at $362 in midday trading.

Nevertheless, the phenomenon does not appear to be fading.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc., the theatre chain that has been ravaged by the pandemic, posted a quarterly loss this month exceeding $900 million.

It appears, however, that AMC has become the next battleground in the fight between smaller, retail investors, and Wall Street.

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