It looked like a simple request from the CEO of a Canadian-based software company — an email asking for a spreadsheet containing information on all the business’ employees.

It looked like a simple request from the CEO of a Canadian-based software company — an email asking for a spreadsheet containing information on all the business’ employees.

Not long after the email was sent in early 2016, it became clear that the request wasn’t from the company’s top executive, but a hacker mining for information for nefarious purposes. In this case, the shadowy culprit made off with the personal information — social insurance numbers, salaries, birth dates, among data — of 463 employees, 20 of them in Alberta.

It’s just one example among the growing number of breach notification decisions released by Alberta’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC), which have shown an increasing trend of online hacks, phishing and so-called social engineering ploys that compromise the personal data of hundreds of thousands of Albertans every year.

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