Data OF 15 Million LifeLabs’ Canadian Customers Compromised

Lifelabs , Canada’s largest provider of health diagnostic testing services, acknowledged that more than 15 million of accounts have been compromised in a recent hack.

However Lifelabs has mentioned that they have negotiated with hackers and paid a ransom fee to get the data back.

Information of more than 15 million of customers in British Columbia and Ontario have been compromised. Data like the names, addresses, email addresses, customer logins and passwords, health card numbers and lab test results have been accessed by hackers.

The company states that the hack has occurred on November 1st 2019.

This is not the first time LifeLabs gets hacked. They had similar incident few years ago where hard drives with data of thousands of patients were stolen.

Lifelabs apologizes for the incident and says that it will offer one free year of identity theft insurance as well as dark web monitoring.

An Open Letter to LifeLabs Customers

To our customers:

Through proactive surveillance, LifeLabs recently identified a cyber-attack that involved unauthorized access to our computer systems with customer information that could include name, address, email, login, passwords, date of birth, health card number and lab test results.

Personally, I want to say I am sorry that this happened. As we manage through this issue, my team and I remain focused on the best interests of our customers. You entrust us with important health information, and we take that responsibility very seriously.

We have taken several measures to protect our customer information including:

Immediately engaging with world-class cyber security experts to isolate and secure the affected systems and determine the scope of the breach;

Further strengthening our systems to deter future incidents;

Retrieving the data by making a payment. We did this in collaboration with experts familiar with cyber-attacks and negotiations with cyber criminals;

Engaging with law enforcement, who are currently investigating the matter; and

Offering cyber security protection services to our customers, such as identity theft and fraud protection insurance.

I want to emphasize that at this time, our cyber security firms have advised that the risk to our customers in connection with this cyber-attack is low and that they have not seen any public disclosure of customer data as part of their investigations, including monitoring of the dark web and other online locations.

We have fixed the system issues related to the criminal activity and worked around the clock to put in place additional safeguards to protect your information. In the interest of transparency and as required by privacy regulations, we are making this announcement to notify all customers. There is information relating to approximately 15 million customers on the computer systems that were potentially accessed in this breach. The vast majority of these customers are in B.C. and Ontario, with relatively few customers in other locations. In the case of lab test results, our investigations to date of these systems indicate that there are 85,000 impacted customers from 2016 or earlier located in Ontario; we will be working to notify these customers directly. Our investigation to date indicates any instance of health card information was from 2016 or earlier.

While you are entitled to file a complaint with the privacy commissioners, we have already notified them of this breach and they are investigating the matter. We have also notified our government partners.

While we’ve been taking steps over the last several years to strengthen our cyber defenses, this has served as a reminder that we need to stay ahead of cybercrime which has become a pervasive issue around the world in all sectors.

Any customer who is concerned about this incident can receive one free year of protection that includes dark web monitoring and identity theft insurance.

Yours sincerely,

President and CEO

avatar

Charles Brown

LifeLabs

Toronto’s Startup Oncoustics Simplifies Liver Disease Diagnostics

We have sat down with Ahmed El Kaffas, Co-Founder at Oncoustics, to talk about his Toronto’s startup. The company helps with early diagnosis when it comes to liver disease without invasive biopsies or expensive imaging.

Oncoustics is changing that with AI diagnostics for inexpensive, pocket-sized, point-of-care ultrasound, which is not ordinarily capable of high-resolution diagnostic imaging.

They do this by mining unique raw data streams for subtle signatures of disease, which is beyond perception with conventional methods.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

The Founder: Dr. Ahmed El Kaffas is an Instructor at Stanford University in Radiology researching ultrasound tissue characterization. Dr. El Kaffas graduated from the University of Toronto’s prestigious Sunnybrook Research Institute where world-renowned ultrasound and medical imaging research is conducted.

CEO on founding team: Dr. Michael Weil is an MD in Radiation Oncology and has led several innovative technological developments from concept to market, including products that he has fully licensed to Siemens. He also founded Sirius Medical and has 15+ years in imaging technologies.

Business lead on founding team: Beth Rogozinski is a serial entrepreneur at the cross-bridge of tech and medicine.  She has served as CEO of Signal 2 Health and CPO of Pear Therapeutics. He work has produced >30 apps and > 12 for healthcare w/ 2 FDA approvals.

Oncoustics is a multi-disciplinary international team of radiologists, hepatologists, engineers, physicists, AI/ML and business experts, with international data collection and collaborations with Stanford and University of Toronto; total of ~13 employees.

How are you being financed?

Seed Angel Consortium through the Creative Destruction Lab (Toronto) and non-dilutive funds from Grand Challenges Canada, OCE and others. 

Building a start up is a lot of work, and as a founder, you are involved in everything from hiring, finding talent to tech dev, business pitches and strategies.

It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and many don’t realize that still… failures happen, and one needs to move on after learning the lesson – things never run smoothly.

avatar

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

Our initial obstacle was to set up a global network of clinics to acquire data to train on – this is because the data Oncoustics uses is unique and not conventionally stored on any ultrasound system or hospital repository (PACS). Oncoustics has spent the last year addressing this issue, and now have a steady stream of data flowing into our cloud system, and have started building AI on these.

The next major challenge will be a business one, that is to ensure that Oncoustics can have our product as part of the healthcare buying lifecycle – this is not a major challenge due to our software-based solution which taps on to already available hardware systems in the clinics. 

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

I tend to have a lot of faith in new grads that are passionate about tech and develop, and i’ve found that they are often deeply committed and have quick insight about the product once a training phase of 2-4 months passes; having them take ownership of the work and play a crucial role in the company also ensures that they are part of a founding team in start up like ours.

The GTA is full of excellent tech workers that have proven themselves over and over. I am also linked to Egypt, and often visit – Oncoustics has found an excellent network of developers there deeply passionate about the start up scene. As such, Oncoustics has been fortunate to run our business across several continents and to tap into an incredible network of talent in tech.

Who is your biggest competition?

Due to the nature of our business, Oncoustics does not have any direct completion. That said, Oncoustics has other players that are in parallel spaces; essentially other AI in medical imaging companies.

How are you intending on taking your company to millions / billions dollars in revenues? In what markets?

  • Introducing  low-cost liver disease surveillance and diagnostics with ultrasound; the alternative is i) invasive biopsies, or ii) imaging systems that cost > $150k-$1M.
  • Using a data-driven solution to enable low cost (< $5k) point-of-care ultrasound systems conventionally designed for guiding a procedure in the emergency room, now transformed to equivalent  systems to those in a radiology department.

As death and morbidity rates from liver disease rise around the world, there is a growing need for low cost and widely available surveillance and diagnostics.  Oncoustics provides just such a system that is an alternative to both invasive and expensive biopsies and high end imaging systems that cost > $150k-$1M. Our data-driven solution enables low cost (< $5k) point-of-care ultrasound systems to be used as diagnostic systems and accelerates the procedure from hours to minutes.  Via this system, more patients everywhere can have faster access to better diagnostics, surveillance and treatment than currently exists.

Revenue will come from:

  • Partnering with clinical centers,
  • Distribution through a Saas Model with PoC ultrasound OEMs
  • Partnerships with Pharmas to train our data for specific indications (i.e. companion device)

What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

Building a start up is a lot of work, and as a founder, you are involved in everything from hiring, finding talent to tech dev, business pitches and strategies. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes a lot of work and many don’t realize that still… failures happen, and one needs to move on after learning the lesson – things never run smoothly.

As a company, Oncoustics had to do several pivots to iterate how Oncoustics introduce our tech and idea into the market, and that on it’s own took a significant amount of time and several years of development, talking to MDs, OEMs and understanding the real problems in the space Oncoustics is trying to tackle.

Nova Scotia’s Crypto owner’s Exhumation Is Requested

Lawyers of Quadriga CX’s users are requesting Canadian government to do the exhumation of late Gerald Cotten to make sure it’s really him.

Last year Cotten has passed away while on a trip to India. He ran the biggest crypto fund in Canada. He was the only person in his company who knew the password to all the crypto funds. Since he has passed away noone can cash out more than $250m in funds.

The exchange had more than 100,000 users. Nova Scotia’s Supreme Court had issued a Termination and Bankruptcy Assignment Order earlier this year outlining the bankruptcy proceedings.

Pursuant to the Order of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, issued February 28, 2019 (the “Representative Counsel Appointment Order”), Miller Thomson LLP and Cox & Palmer (together, “Representative Counsel”), were appointed as Representative Counsel on behalf of users affected by the shutdown of the Quadriga CX cryptocurrency exchange platform (collectively, the “Affected Users”).

The purpose of this letter is to request, on behalf of the Affected Users, that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the “RCMP”), conduct an exhumation and post-mortem autopsy on the body of Gerald Cotten to confirm both its identity and the cause of death given the questionable circumstances surrounding Mr. Cotten’s death and the significant losses of Affected Users.

Enclosed please find a detailed compilation (the “Background Material”, at Schedule “A”) of publicly available information on the history of Quadriga, Gerald Cotten and others related to Quadriga which, in our view, further highlight the need for certainty around the question of whether Mr. Cotten is in fact deceased.

Representative Counsel respectfully requests that this process be completed by Spring of 2020, given decomposition concerns.

The Background Material has been created from publicly available information on the Quadriga matter.

Should the RCMP require anything further, Representative Counsel is available to assist.

avatar

MILLER THOMSON LLP

Letter to the RCMP

The lawyers for the users have sent a letter to RCMP asking the RCMP “to confirm both its identity and the cause of death given the questionable circumstances surrounding Mr. Cotten’s death and the significant losses of Affected Users.”

The exchange had the money stored in “cold wallets”, a way to protect them from hackers. But since Cotten had the passwords noone else can access them.

The letter from the lawyers also outlined “the need for certainty around the question of whether Mr. Cotten is, in fact, deceased.”

Sales of Electric Vehicles in Ontario Decrease due to Rebate Cut

Since Doug Ford’s government has cut the rebate for provincial electric cars in Ontario last year, the sales for the electric cars like Tesla, have stagnated. The Canadian national target might now not be met due to Ontario’s lack of sales.

If you compare first 6 months in 2019 to the same first 6 months in 2018, the number sales have plummeted more than 55 percent.

Ontario is the only province in Canada that is NOT seeing increase in sales in electric cars. Quebec and British Columbia where they have great rebate on electric cars are leading the sales in Canada.

Doug Ford has cut the $14,000 rebate last year saying that government should not be subsidizing people who want to buy expensive cars. Tesla models start at around $50,000.

The way it stands when buying electric vehicles in Canada you might be eligible for $5,000 in federal incentives, an additional $3,000 in British Columbia and up to $8,000 in Quebec.

Federal government wants to hit 10% of electric vehicles on the roads in Canada by 2025. But the current number of registered electric cars are at only 3.5%.

In British Columbia more than 10% of vehicles sold are electric cars, and in Quebec that number is at 7%.

In Ontario the total # of electric vehicle are at only around 2%.

Ontario Transportation Minister Caroline Mulroney’s office has refused to comment on the numbers.

Quebec City’s MyCustomizer is Making it easier to Shop

We have sat down with Renaud Teasdale Co-Founder and CEO of startup MyCustomizer to ask him about his Quebec City’s company and the success he had with it.

Summarize your company in an elevator pitch.

MyCustomizer empowers brands to engage customers in outstanding design-your-own experiences with a powerful online platform.

Who started the company? Do you / team members have tech background?

Renaud Teasdale co-founded the company with Simon Vallières and Thierry Proulx. Renaud is a designer who worked for Warrior (New Balance) while Simon and Thierry are full stack developers. After witnessing the emergence of mass customization, they decided to build a software platform allowing any brand to sell customizable products online. A few years later, Malo Guertin, a skilled software engineer joined us as in intern and now leads our development team.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Being persistent is key.

avatar

Renaud Teasdale

Co-Founder and CEO MyCustomizer

How are you being financed?

We raised a micro-seed round back in 2012 with Founderfuel and BDC and pretty much bootstrapped our way to profitability. We now have a solid client base from startups to large companies such as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Suunto.

What do you think will be / is a big obstacle to overcome?

We are launching MyCustomizer 2.0 a fully self-serve solution on the Shopify App Store in the next few weeks and our goal from there will be to scale exponentially. It’s going to be a big challenge to handle the growth while keeping an excellent service. We want to make sure our clients succeed. If they win, we win.

How do you go about finding good developers / IT guys for your company?

We have success with internships and word of mouth.  Having a great work environment (flexible schedule and vacations, work from home) where people want to show up on Monday mornings also helps!

Who is your biggest competition?

An agency like Fluid has a large chunk of the high end market. Our model is different because we are purely a software-as-a-service play. We are more like Shopify for customization.

How are you intending on taking your company to millions / billions dollars in revenues? In what markets?

Mass customization and ecommerce in general are definitely growing trends. We are building the best platform to sell custom products online. This is a huge market across all verticals from sporting goods to food. Studies have shown that 25-30% of online shoppers are interested to try customization. If 25% of online sales of footwear are customized, that equate to a market of 2 Billion per year.

8. What is the big lesson you’ve learned (success or failure) with this project.

It’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Being persistent is key. Back in 2012, all the investors were telling us that this was a niche market. It is now very clear that this is a huge opportunity. The world is moving towards production on-demand at light speed.

Shopify Might GeT Acquired

CNBC announced that few companies in Silicon Valley are looking around and want to acquire Canadian based Shopify.

CNBC mentioned that Shopify will probably not accept any offers as they want to remain independent.

Shopify’s investors are very happy with Shopify performance to date. The stock has skyrocketed from just $120 US dollars a year ago to over $400 just few months ago.

Huawei Is Moving its R&D To Canada

Fed up with American sanctions against their company, Huawei announced that they will be moving its R&D office to Canada.

Ren Zhengfei, founder and CEO of Huawei, said the move its necessary because Huawei would be blocked from interacting with US employees.

This is a surprising move considering Canada is currently holding Meng Wanzhou, Huawei CFO, under house arrest and refuses to release her.

“The research and development center will move from the United States, and Canada will be the center.

According to the U.S. ban, we couldn’t communicate with, call, email or contact our own employees in the United States.”

avatar

Ren Zhengfei in interview with Globe and Mail

Founder and CEO of Huawei

Huawei is one the largest network providers for the cell phones in the world. US authorities also accuse Huawei of spying and corporate espionage. Huawei denies all accusations.

Details were not disclosed where the new R&D in Canada will be located or how many new jobs will be created. But we do know that Huawei has cut 600 jobs in California just recently.

Huawei’s main headquarter is in China with additional offices in Germany, India, Sweden and Turkey.

Huawei also wants to start manufacturing 5G chips in Europe to gain trust from Europe that their equipment does not contain anything illegal.

“Ottawa should make the development of artificial intelligence its national strategy, Such a strategy would involve attracting talent.” Ren was dismissive of the idea that Ottawa should give Huawei some financial support. “If they need more money, I can give them money. I’m richer than the Canadian government.”

avatar

Ren Zhengfei in interview with Globe and Mail

Founder and CEO of Huawei