Bell Canada alert prompts RCMP, privacy watchdog to probe data breach

Company spokesman: ‘Fewer than 100,000 customers were affected’

The RCMP has launched an investigation into a data breach at Bell Canada that appears to have compromised customer names and email addresses, but no credit card or banking information.

Bell Canada spokesman Nathan Gibson told The Canadian Press that “fewer than 100,000 customers were affected.”

RCMP spokeswoman Stephanie Dumoulin, at the police force’s national division in Ottawa, and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner said they couldn’t disclose details.

“We are following up with Bell to obtain information regarding what took place and what they are doing to mitigate the situation, and to determine follow up actions,” said the federal privacy watchdog’s spokeswoman Tobi Cohen.

Bell Canada has alerted customers who were affected, and also informed them that additional security, authentication and identification requirements have been implemented.

“When discussing your account with our service representatives, you will be asked for this additional information to verify your identity,” its emailed notice to customers said.

Katy Anderson, a Calgary-based digital rights advocate with OpenMedia, said she’s glad Bell is implementing additional security checks.

“However, this is the second time the company has been hit by hackers in eight months,” Anderson said in a phone interview.

Bell Canada revealed in May that an anonymous hacker had obtained access to about 1.9 million active email addresses and about 1,700 customer names and active phone numbers.

Anderson said that the public should realize that centralized data is vulnerable, by its nature.

“When a breach like this happens, which we’re seeing more and more, it’s always a good reminder to change your passwords, update your security questions with things only you would know, and consider using a password manager,” Anderson said.

Bell’s latest data breach follows several other high-profile hacks, including at credit monitoring company Equifax and car-hailing service Uber, though those companies did not immediately disclose the breaches.

READ MORE: Equifax hack compromised 100,000 Canadians’ personal data

The federal government is in the process of reviewing changes to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act that would require companies to notify people in the event of a serious data breach.

But until those come into force, Alberta is the only province in Canada that has mandatory reporting requirements for private-sector companies.

David Paddon, The Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

WEB POLL: Would you like to see a new highway built between B.C. and Central Alberta?

Building another highway through the mountains would shave 95 km from Kamloops to Red Deer

LETTER: Ex councillor weighs in on deferral of raises for Revelstoke mayor and council

After Steven Cross resigned in protest, proposed raises were removed from the budget

DJs and bands playing this weekend in Revelstoke

Andy Siegel Special to the Review This weekend there’s another amazing line… Continue reading

Community mourns Revelstoke snowmobiler death

Alexandre Labonté was an avid sledder and mountain biker

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Former Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin to visit Kelowna

Beverley McLachlin served as the 17th Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 to 2017

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

Chilliwack widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

After two years Ryan Shtuka’s disappearance remains a mystery

The 20-year-old vanished after leaving a party in Sun Peaks on Feb. 17, 2018

Summerland junior boys basketball team off to Provincials

Tournament will be held in Langley Feb. 22 to 25

Okanagan cadets medal at Sovereign Lake biathlon

First time in 15 years championships held on home turf

Summerland’s Beer house recognized for heritage value

Building on Jubilee Road was constructed more than a century ago

Most Read