Addison Cameron-Huff, Blockchain Lawyer

Thoughts and opinions of a Toronto-based cryptocurrency lawyer who's worked in the industry since 2014.

How is CSEC Spying on Canadians?

The Communications Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC), the Canadian version of the NSA tasked with spying on foreigners, has been revealed by Snowden to be busy spying on Canadians too. But what has CSEC been doing?

A redacted version of the PowerPoint presentation that CSEC delivered can be found here. It's difficult to tell what CSEC is doing because the PowerPoint is at a fairly level. This blog post has my initial speculations.

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Presentation on Cybercrime & Law Firms

I just presented at Campbell House in Toronto with George Takach, Mark Hayes and Alex Cameron on the topic of Cybercrime and Law Firms. I learned a lot from the other speakers about privacy, data breach notification and client-led security. You can buy access to the presentations here.

My slides for the presentation are below. The zip file has the slide notes and slides in PPT/PDF format. If you have any questions about the material please feel free to email me at addison@cameronhuff.com.

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Sources for Cybercrime Presentation

I'll be presenting tomorrow on the topic of Cybercrime and Law Firms. Here are a few of the sources that I used for the presentation (some of which didn't make it into the final cut):

Small firms having their online banking accounts cleaned out: http://krebsonsecurity.com/2014/01/firm-bankrupted-by-cyberheist-sues-bank/

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A Virtue of Static Websites: Security

A static website is one in which all of the content is pre-generated. This blog is a good example of that because all of the HTML files are built locally and then uploaded to the server (using RSync).

The usual way that websites work is by having a content management system that generates pages on the fly (e.g. Wordpress, FlatLaw). Although there are a lot of factors that go into choosing a dynamic vs. static website, an important advantage for a static site is security.

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Making An Unread Email Button in Gmail

So far as I know, Gmail doesn't have a button to show you just your unread emails. I receive a lot of mail and I'm tired of writing in the search box "in:unread in:inbox".

So today I wrote a quick Chrome extension that injects an unread email button into Gmail. Could I have found an extension somewhere that does this? Probably, but I like to know what code is interacting with my emails. You can review the very short source code for this extension by downloading it below and reading the "run.js" file.

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LawPRO on Passwords

The most recent edition of Law Pro Magazine has some good tips on the use of passwords.

One good tip that isn't in the article is to use a base password that you modify for each website/service. I have a couple patterns that I modify by using letters from the domain that the password is for (e.g. the password for eBay would be "PasswordEba", and for Gmail it would be "PasswordGma"). This technique can help avoid the risk of your password being stolen from one site and applied to all of your other accounts.

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Minimizing the Risk of Exfiltration

The Pentagon had several terabytes of data related to the F-35 fighter stolen in 2009. This is just one of many hacking incidents involving exfiltration of large amounts of data. Law firms are particularly vulnerable to these kinds of attacks.

If your firm has a network drive with everyone's files or a document management system then you're likely vulnerable to the mass theft of documents. Whenever I read about these kinds of losses I always wonder why the systems allowed thousands or millions of documents to be downloaded at once.

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The Increasing Importance of In-House Counsel

Last night I was asked why a company would want to switch from outside counsel to in-house lawyers. I've been in-house at Research in Motion (AKA BlackBerry), worked at a large Bay St. law firm and am now practising independently. Although I'm not a grizzled veteran, I have seen both sides of the practise of law.

I think there are two key advantages of in-house:

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Encrypt Your Phone

Even if you have a password to unlock your phone (and you should), the contents of your phone are not secure. All of your attachments, emails, phone call records, notes, etc. could be available to a thief, hacker or border agent. If you're not using a firm-supplied BlackBerry (where this should be enabled by default) you should enable encryption on your phone.

In order to secure your phone you'll need to enable encrypted storage. The method for doing so depends on your model and may require some help from an IT expert. Try googling the name of your phone and "storage encryption". On Android you can enable it by following these steps (may not be applicable to your version of Android).

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Gmail for Sole Practitioner/Small Firm Lawyers

I use Gmail to manage my eleven different email accounts. I have all of my accounts set up as mail forwards (e.g. addison@cameronhuff.com forwards to myemail@gmail.com) and then SMTP for outgoing from Gmail. This set up allows me to have all of my different businesses funnelled into one account that's accessible on my phone and computer. When I reply to a message my email will be sent from the email address that it was sent to (and not the Gmail address).

Besides the incredible convenience of managing many email accounts through one, using Gmail gives me Google's anti-spam filters (they're great). Google anti-spam is also a great defence against phishing emails.

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Computer Security for Lawyers

This blog post contains a summary of practical steps to make your law practice more secure. Most of these steps require technical knowledge to execute on but there should be enough information provided for you to have a conversation with your technical staff.

The best way to secure a firm against hackers stealing money is to use "air gaps". Read more in this blog post.

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Guarding Against The Right Threats: ACH and Wire Transfers

Large law firms should assume that their systems have been compromised by hackers. Whether the danger is state espionage (e.g. Potash hacking of Bay St.), "Anonymous" or cybercriminals in California, firms are either currently being exploited or about to be.

Obviously guarding the front line (i.e. lawyer/assistant computers) is important but generally front line computers aren't the real target. Often the targets of hackers are wire and ACH transfer systems (viz. payroll).

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Securing Your Files with AES Encryption

My law practice is stored in an encrypted disk image. Encrypting your practice files is like locking your files in a bank vault.

How does it work? A disk image is like a directory but when it's opened it requires a password. Once opened the directory will be available until you eject it (like a CD).

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Law Firm Security Tip: Air Gap

Law firms often have accounting departments with access to wire transfer capabilities through online banking. There is a risk with these systems of infection with malware (i.e. keyloggers) and then unauthorized wire transfers of hundreds of thousands of dollars. A Toronto firm in 2012 had a "six figure loss" from this type of attack. These attacks are likely just the tip of the iceberg because law firms don't like to admit to having had trust funds stolen.

A good solution to the problem of attacks on accounting computers is to air gap them. The strategy is to provide a dedicated computer with a separate internet connection for wire transfers. Having a separate computer (and internet) means that any infections on the network or in an email attachments can't affect the banking computer. This method would have prevented the two attacks linked to above (and virtually any other kind of attack).

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Presenting on "Cyber Crime and Your Practice" (LSUC PD)

I'll be presenting on the 29th of January on the topic of "Cyber Crime and Your Practice" (professional development credit).

I'm honoured to be presenting with Alex Cameron (Faskens), Mark Hayes (Heydary Hayes) and George Takach (McCarthy Tetrault).

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Queen's Law Reports Publishes Article About OntarioMonitor

I was covered in an article in Queen's Law Reports, the alumni magazine for Queen's Law. Here's the relevant page and you can read the whole issue here.

The article is a bit dated because this is from an interview I did in the summer before I started my law practice. Since the article was written I opened my own practice, created AlbertaMonitor.ca, FlatLaw.ca and EUAlerts.com.

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EUAlerts Has Launched!

EUAlerts.com has launched! It's the culmination of a fair bit of work over the last couple months and I'm excited to see where it goes.

EUAlerts is the first keyword-based government monitoring service for the European Union. The service works by monitoring for client keywords and then when they're found in new laws the client gets an email with excerpted sections and highlighted keywords.

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Great Cross-Browser Testing Tools

If you've ever had to do cross-browser testing you're probably familiar with screenshot tools like Browser Shots (it's great and free).

I highly recommend checking out BrowserStack if you have to do any kind of interactive testing (e.g. Javascript, drop-down menus, etc.). I used it a few weeks ago for a project and it was easy + free.

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Uber Hires Lobbyists in Alberta

Uber (traditional cab competitor from San Francisco) has hired a lobbying firm in Calgary.

New West Public Affairs will be lobbying Municipal Affairs and the Justice & Solicitor General for changes to the Municipal Government Act and Traffic Safety Act. Presumably they'll be trying to deregulate the taxi industry in Edmonton & Calgary.

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Ontario Considering Driverless Car Testing Regulation

Ontario is considering allowing autonomous vehicle testing (as is being done in Nevada & California by Google). The regulation that's being considered will allow for a five year testing period. Although the cars will be autonomous, they'll have to have a driver ready to take over immediately.

No driving systems that are "homebuilt conversions" will be allowed.

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There are hundreds more blog posts to read, going back to 2014:
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