Editor’s note: Story and map updated with malware data from March 2016.

Malware infections across Canada spiked almost 15 per cent in March and the country’s problem with ransomware was made evident when an Ottawa-based hospital was hit.

Overall malware was on the rise, increasing 14.7 per cent in March compared to February, according to tracking by EnigmaSoftware.com.

February was a shorter month and saw hackers hibernating a bit from the cold, so there was a slight reduction in malware. But that changed in March with 230,000 infections detected by SpyHunter, EnigmaSoftware.com’s security software. While that’s still a far cry from some of the higher counts of more than 300,000 infections last year, it shows we might be returning to those levels.

See our map below to see the new rates in individual cities. Trois-Rivieres, Que. remains at the top of the list as we’re used to. There wasn’t too much of a shake up in terms of city standings, except that we say Burnaby, B.C. enter the top 20 list by moving up from 27th spot to 15th.

Ransomware in Canada

We have a new layer for April, thanks to some data from the Malwarebytes blog. After finding ransomware being spread by a Hamilton, Ont.-based hospital’s website, Malwareabytes took stock of the ransomware situation across Canada. Researchers have ranked this category of malware as one of the most threatening in Canada for several years now.

Since January, Malwarebytes Anti-Malware software detected more than 10,000 instances of the malware affecting Canadians. It provided a top 10 list of Canadian cities most affected by malware, and we’ve added them to our map (look for the yellow briefcase icons).

Canada’s most malware-infected cities

Ransomware and rogue anti-spyware are the worst types of malware afflicting Canadian computers, EnigmaSoftware.com reports. Ransomware variants like CTB Locker and UKash locks off access to computer files and demands money be sent in order to restore access to the information.

Rogue anti-spyware like Winfix 10 and PC  Speed Maximizer create fraudulent messages claiming a computer is infected and then offers to fix the problem in exchange for money.

Cybercrime in Canada

We’ve updated our cybercrime map of Canada with a new layer of data, showing the police-reported cybercrime from 2013, the most recent data available from Statistics Canada. The range of cybercrime reported by police services in Canada range from types of fraud to threats to crimes of a sexual nature. In 2013, more than half of all cybercrime reported was described as a fraud violation, with 6,203 offenses out of a total of 11,124 offenses across all categories.

Rounding out the top five most-common cybercrimes committed in 2013: uttering threats (786 offenses), child pornography (761), criminal harrassment (735), and luring a child via a computer (638). In sixth spot, identity fraud was reported 580 times, while identity theft was tallied as a separate category and reported 131 times.

Statistics Canada’s data is reported by police services covering 80 per cent of the Canadian population. In Ontario, police services covering 62 per cent of the population reported cybercrime statistics. Notably, Toronto is not included.

York Region was Canada’s hottest region for cybercrime in 2013, with 716 offenses reported there. Following was Vancouver with 574, Ottawa with 509, Halifax with 236, and Hamilton with 231.

IT budgets in Canada

Also new to our map is a layer representing an IDC Canada survey conducted earlier this year. It shows how much different regions in Canada are spending on IT security and how much they’d like to spend. Which region do you think is spending the most on security? Find out and read more analysis over on IT World Canada.

Do you have data you think could add to our Malware Map of Canada? Let us know on Twitter by tweeting @itbusinessca.


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  • Laura Butcher

    Interesting…my in-laws are in Burlington.

    • gisabun

      So you trust them less, right? 🙂

  • Brian Bourne

    So the cities where people actually use computers have a higher infection rate than the cities that don’t. Wow, hard to believe.

  • gisabun

    Those reported cybercrime is not the greatest indicator. Not everyone wants to report something that happened to them.