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In the early hours of a fall morning in 2021, the servers and computer systems of Emblemtek Solutions Group Inc. were taken over by hackers located somewhere in southeast Asia. 

The RCMP alerted the company’s internet provider, which immediately notified David Black, president of the emblem design and manufacturing company located in Vankleek Hill, Ontario.

By the time they were notified, “the damage was already done,” says Black. Upon logging in, employees were met with a pop-up window stating their system had been seized and they would need to contact the hackers if they wanted it unlocked.

“We've heard in our industry [about] some of our suppliers or some of our peer organizations or some of our customers being attacked in various ways, to varying degrees,” said Black. “It's happening all the time.”

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Hadassah Alencar is a bilingual journalist based near Montreal. She recently completed the journalism program at Concordia University, where she worked as a teaching assistant and became editor-in-chief...