Hacked: from cyberfreedom to security

We live in a digital world. We work, we bank, we play, we chat and we organize our lives on the internet. But how secure is cyberspace? Join us for a special series on cybersecurity, at CBC Montreal.

Join CBC Montreal for our series Hacked: From Cyber Freedom to Security. ((Canadian Press))
We live in a digital world. We work, we bank, we play, we chat and we organize our lives on the internet.

We're spending more time in cyberspace — and we share more of our private information online. But how secure is cyberspace?

Internet security is a corporate concern. ((Canadian Press))
CBC Montreal, along with Radio-Canada, have been investigating that question. Starting March 7, we'll be bringing you some of the answers we've found.

Our special series takes a look at how secure your personal information is in cyberspace. We're also going to examine some of the creative and inspiring ways that Montrealers are manipulating the internet for social change. We'll also see how hacking is affecting our lives, for better and for worse.

Check out our coverage. We look forward to hearing from you.



When you buy household and mobile electronics, they are "locked" by manufacturers to control program and software uploads or system modifications.

That hasn't stopped hackers from burrowing through digital safeguards to change settings and rig free features on anything from Playstations to iPhones.

Avi Ensafi is a self-taught jailbreaker in Montreal. ((Jesara Sinclair/CBC))
The phenomenon is called "jailbreaking".

In Montreal, "jailbreakers" or "modders" are easy to find. Some advertise their services openly on Craigslist and Kijiji.

Device manufacturers warn jailbreaking may cancel a warranty — but it's actually not illegal to do so in Canada.

Canada's Copyright Act prevents people from reproducing or making unauthorized reproductions of protected works. But it doesn't address the act of modifying said works.

A bill of legislation that would make it illegal to modify a gaming console is currently working its way through Parliamentary procedure.

But until copyright laws are amended, jailbreaking remains a popular way to enhance electronic devices at a low cost.



QuébecLeaks went public Wednesday. ((QuébecLeaks))
The launch of Quebec's homegrown WikiLeaks could be described as less than earth-shattering, and surprisingly partisan.

A lack of actual leaked documents to report — and a controversial revelation about the QuébecLeaks' main spokesperson marred the group's well-publicized premiere  on Wednesday.

The site's front person, who previously operated under a pseudonym, was revealed as blogger and one-time Parti Québécois member Luc Lefebvre. 

Quebec's Liberal government was quick to slam the nascent group as a mouthpiece for the opposition PQ.



Computer security expert Ryk Edelstein. ((CBC))
Is new credit-card technology making it easier for identity thieves to access your most private information? According to numerous reports, it seems to be. But is it fear mongering?

Montreal-based security expert Ryk Edelstein says a skilled hacker who knows how to break RFID technology could remotely extract personal information and account numbers from any given card.

But credit card companies say safeguards – such as purchase amount limits – reduce the likelihood of fraud.




Did you know that some internet activists in Montreal have developed software that helps others bypass government censorship on the web? Some of these programs played a role in Tunisia's recent civil uprising.

Nadim Kobeissi, internet activist. ((CBC))



You're in the habit of using your laptop, smartphone or other computer device in the countless Wi-Fi spots available in the city.

Do you think  the connection is safe? That only a highly-skilled hacker could spy on you? That might have been the case before. Not anymore.

Simple software that's widely available for free now makes it easy to spy on others using unsecured Wi-Fi networks. It's called Firesheep.

Computer expert David Mirza explains why Firesheep has website administrators scrambling to adjust their security settings