In September 2021, Whitehorse RCMP General Investigation Section, with the assistance of RCMP Digital Forensic Services and the RCMP National Cybercrime Coordination Centre, opened an investigation into a series of computer hacking that occurred between 2018 and 2021.
The investigation was opened after computer data was discovered during the execution of a Search Warrant on devices and computers that had been seized as part of a firearms investigation. The computer data suggested that over five hundred (500) secure computer networks in the Yukon, British Columbia, Alberta and the Northwest Territories had been targeted and attempts to access the networks had occurred. The attempts to access the secure computer networks were done using a method to capture the password exchange between a device and/or computer and the network access point, then, using computer software, analyze and recover the network password. The investigation determined that over three hundred (300) secure computer networks were compromised during the hacking.
While the investigation determined that a significant number of secure computer network passwords were compromised, there was no evidence that any business or personal data was compromised or stolen from the networks.
On July 19, 2023, Fearon Steele appeared in Yukon Territorial Court being charged with thirteen (13) counts of Unauthorized Use of a Computer and nine (9) counts of Mischief to Computer Data stemming from the investigation.
With cybercrime and fraud on the rise in Canada, the Whitehorse RCMP recommend reviewing the GetCyberSafe.ca website to protect yourself and your business. The GetCyberSafe.ca website provides information about cyber security and simple steps that can be taken to protect yourself.
Anyone who suspects they have been the victim of cybercrime or fraud should report it to their local police of jurisdiction and to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre online reporting system or by phone at 1-888-495-8501. Reporting is key to addressing cybercrime incidents because it enables law enforcement to combat them and helps identify linkages across separately reported cases.