“As advances in technology reach every facet of our lives, we are all increasingly susceptible to Internet-related risk. My presentations have evolved over many years to the point where the main goal is to build awareness and generate discussion about cyber security and online safety. I hope that my talks will inspire my audience to be proactive at all times, on every device and on every platform. At the same time, I want users to become Confident in their own ability to make safe choices and better informed decisions when on the Internet.” - Kathy Macdonald

Kathy Macdonald

Cyber Security, Online Safety and Fraud Prevention Expert

Kathy Macdonald, (M.O.M., MSc. CPP), began her career as a police officer in 1988 working the streets as a beat cop in Calgary, Alberta. With the advent of the Internet and the World Wide Web, Kathy recognized early on that crime and policing would be changed forever. As a result, she set out to learn everything she could about cyber security and the online world. As the Calgary Police Service cyber awareness coordinator for over 12 years and a media spokesperson on this subject. Furthermore, Kathy has conducted hundreds of interviews, offered safety advice and commentary on technology and cyber crime.

After 25 years of law enforcement, Kathy Macdonald now speaks on the subject of cyber security at events in the community and outside, where she draws on her knowledge and experience. Kathy has a gift for connecting with her audience and has delivered more than 2000 professional presentations. Kathy supports awareness about preventing Internet-enabled crime designing curricular, consulting with industry and publishing numerous articles for trade and professional papers. She loves helping clients better understand online risks. She specializes in cyber security for business, cyber safety for all ages, online crime, identity theft, cyber bullying and general cyber awareness.

Kathy’s passion for cybercrime prevention has also led to global speaking engagements over the years’. She continues to consult and advise law enforcement groups, the corporate sector, security groups, government and academia. As a result, Kathy’s information is always up to date and relevant to today’s online world. Because of her passion to help young peoples in Canada, Kathy has conducted hundreds of presentations in schools, at kids camps and to parent groups. She has also participated in several global initiatives that could help Canadians of all ages better protect themselves online.

In 2009, the Governor General of Canada invested Kathy with the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (M.O.M.). This award recognizes service and commitment to the community. Kathy is an Industry Attaché for Stop. Think. Connect., which is a global messaging convention that unifies the response to cybercrime to millions of people worldwide. Macdonald is board certified by ASIS International and has served on the board of ASIS, as well as the boards of Security Professional Information Exchange (SPIE), (ISC)², Alberta Community Crime Prevention Association (ACCPA) and Common Sense Calgary. Kathy Macdonald also teaches personnel security at the University of Calgary in addition to her consultation practice.

Kathy Macdonald’s academic credentials are impressive. She holds a Masters of Security Risk Management with Merit (MSc.) from the University of Leicester,. She is a Certified Protection Professional (C.P.P.) from ASIS International. Macdonald achieved a Security Management Certificate and General Management Certificate from the University of Calgary, and holds a Senior Police Management Certificate (SPAC). In addition, Kathy Macdonald has successfully completed a many courses and specialized training on topics including media relations, business leadership, open source intelligence gathering and fraud investigations. Above all, Kathy Macdonald unique’s perspectives and heartwarming presentations bring audiences practical and easy to understand advice for online safety.

Kathy Macdonald’s Awards: 

  • The Governor General Award, Member of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces (M.O.M.)
  • Long Service Award – Calgary Police Service
  • Alberta Centennial Medal – Government of Alberta
  • Police and Private Security Liaison Award – ASIS International
  • Leadership Award for the World Police/Fire Games – Calgary Chief of Police.

Topic Presentations

Social media has exploded on the Internet scene in the last few years and provides  exciting websites like Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn that appeal to members of the whole family, young and old, male and female. The social media technologies include such things as games, video and photo sharing, forums and blogs, many of which are aimed at a younger audience, and many of which target older users of the Internet who are now taking advantage of these hottest new trends in communicating. She will explain how even though our mobile devices have extended our ability to communicate with the world from anywhere. that  our online risk has also increased.

In her presentation, Kathy warns of the dangers of oversharing in social media and explains how posting the wrong kind of information can affect users personally and professionally. Kathy will teach why we need to be skeptical, stay diligent, use privacy settings and not overshare personally identifying information in social media. Kathy will also touch on how event though apps are a large part of everyday online habits that we must ensure that we are being selective, responsible and more diligent than ever when downloading  apps. She will also teach why social engineering works in the scam and con game and how can we identify those expert emotions that keep getting us into trouble.

In this presentation the audience will learn the basic rules of Internet safety, ethics, and the healthy use of connected technologies, so that they can protect themselves in any online environment.

In this engaging and critical segment, Kathy provides insight into the criminal element of the Internet, including the use of bitcoin and social engineering techniques. In this discussion, Kathy focuses on the Dark Web, where personally identifying information is a commodity and individuals and groups can hide online from governments and law enforcement agencies in order to buy, sell and trade illegal and dangerous products.

She warns about phishing and spearphishing, common social engineering techniques that solicit personal information from unsuspecting users, target specific organizations and seek to obtain unauthorized access to confidential data.

In this segment, Kathy explains that these crimes are very difficult to detect and prosecute because they are transnational, and exacerbated by the lack of police resources, inadequate laws, and jurisdictional issues. Moreover, the continuous evolution of computer technologies make it almost impossible for the police to detect and prosecute cybercrime. Kathy offers practical advice and actionable steps for non-technical computer users to prevent and reduce online risk, and stresses the importance of being proactive, aware and vigilant on the Internet.

As Internet use has increased, so has cybercrime, cyber-conflict, cyber-risk and cyberbullying. The global community, and law enforcement face an uphill battle with regard to cyberbullying, as these incidents are multi-faceted and typically involve young people who have been exposed to this crime through websites, apps, computers and the use of mobile devices. These incidents can be emotionally devastating to the target and the harmful effects can be repeated over and over for an extended period. As seen all too often in Canada and elsewhere, repeated cyberbullying can lead to depression and suicide.

Kathy discusses cyberbullying from an awareness standpoint, and explains how to deny, deter, detect and delay opportunities for online abuse and bullying. She teaches adults, teachers, social workers, law enforcement officers, parents and youth how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying and what steps to take if someone is being targeted by a cyberbully. Kathy outlines the steps one needs to take to prevent this growing problem, because prevention is the best way to these crimes.

Today, it’s hard to imagine a world without email, the most frequently used communication tool. Because of the wide use of email, hackers often target attachments as one of the most common methods of infection.

  • Learn the importance of keeping a clean machine, recognizing suspicious links, identifying scams and understanding some of the most common schemes criminals use to steal from a network.

  • Learn tips to talk to seniors about protecting themselves from common scams, hacks, and social engineering attacks.

  • Learn how to protect wireless networks from eavesdropping, hacking and freeloading. Learn the risks associated to accessing public Wi-Fi networks.

  • Learn about the ‘underground economy’ an area where hackers share techniques, buy, sell and trade personal information.

  • Learn about new virtual currencies like Bit Coin, e-wallets, and how to reduce risk while conducting online banking and e-shopping.

  • Learn how several high profile hacking cases recently in the news may significantly transform the activities of online users and the future of the Internet.

Viruses and spyware can enter a computer through emails, through downloads when visiting malware-infested websites and when clicking on malicious links. Dealing with the presence of malicious code on a computer can be a frustrating experience that can cost time, money, and the risk of loss of sensitive information.

Viruses enable hackers with the ability to steal valuable corporate, customer or employee information, distribute spam, delete files or even crash an entire computer system.

  • Learn how spyware programs allow hackers to monitor online activity, steal passwords, records, intellectual property and other valuable data.

  • Learn about the delivery of malware in files attachments, drive-by downloads on websites, watering hole attacks and links in email messages.

  • Learn what to do if you believe a computer is infected and the difference between viruses, Trojan horses, key loggers.

  • Learn how botnet infections work, how they acquire banking credentials to steal money from the victims, how malware operates in cyber warfare and cyber espionage operations and how sophisticated malware has been designed with specific intent to steal sensitive information and intellectual property.

  • Learn how to recognize if a computer has been infected with malicious code and get a general overview on the economy of scareware, creepware, crimeware, describing what these threats are and the implications for both the victims and the perpetrators of malware.

  • Learn practices that make it difficult for attackers to guess or defeat our passwords on website and on personal and public Wi-Fi networks. Learn about digital inheritance as it pertains to our passwords and website use.

It is increasingly common for Internet users to spend excessive time online, to the point that it almost becomes a behavioural addiction. Many feel a loss of the ability to stop going online and it is impacting relationships, emotions, social life and school.

  • Learn how to speak with children to help make them aware of the growing problem of Internet abuse.

  • Learn how to gradually reduce the number of hours spent gaming, gambling or watching pornography on the computer.

  • Learn the laws around distracted driving and learn tactics that may help reduce the strong urge to text while driving.

  • Learn the laws as they relate to child exploitation and child pornography. Learn how to report these kinds of online crimes.

  • Learn what to do if someone online is planning to harm himself or herself or another person.

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