Kenrick 3.0 is on his way.

After a long stint setting up a full-scale data security architecture at a major bank in Bermuda, followed by a few major career changes that landed him perfectly in law enforcement — Detective Constable Kenrick Bagnall of the Toronto Police Service has had his fair share of learning experiences.

His life on the island as an IT pro? That is Kenrick 1.0.

His life as a cyber crime-fighter? That’s Kenrick 2.0.

With that experience, comes some great advice. After the Data Connectors team sat down with the Detective Constable at the TPS C3 (that’s Coordinated Cyber Centre), he certainly wasn’t short on insights for everyday Canadians, business owners, and anyone looking to enter law enforcement in the future. 

 

FROM THE IT DEPARTMENT TO THE FRONT LINES

After coming back to Toronto after spending many years in Bermuda as the Vice President of Information Technology at a major bank, he set his goal to be a consultant — but the work just wasn’t what he’d wanted it to be.

Heading back into the private sector wasn’t a right fit either after he’d been met with the “Overqualified” label time and time again. 

It wasn’t until a family friend showed him a clear path into the Toronto Police Service — specifically the tech crime unit that was fairly new in the mid-2000s. Long story short, he took the test, got hired and was in training inside of a month. But at the start, he was on the front lines. 

“I was a 42-year-old rookie. “The Rookie” show on TV — that was me,” Bagnall said. 

After he’d had his fair share of physical altercations during arrests, chases, and more. Despite dipping his toe in tech crime, he realized it wasn’t the perfect fit after all. But with that, he took a more investigative track. That led him into fraud investigation, followed by the cyber division in 2015. 

“The rest, as they say, is history… as far as Kenrick 2.0 is concerned.”

Now, his focus is on helping the community stay informed about some of the threats that they face. 

“I truly enjoy what I do, I’m like a kid in a candy store. When I come to work, I get ‘play’ with technology, I work with smart people, and advocate for victims and bring criminals to justice.”

 

BECOMING INFORMED ON CURRENT ISSUES

One of the greatest challenges we all face in this age of information overload is trying to figure out who to trust, and from where to get information. Bagnall offered his thoughts on where he gets his news, plus how to ensure the truth in what you’re reading. 

The first step? Be sure to verify everything you read. 

“Triangulate your sources,” Bagnall said. “Where else is that coming from? Is anybody else saying the same thing? And if not, why?”

He said he leans heavily on his fellow law enforcement agencies for first-hand confirmation of the things he hears. 

“My first trusted source is in my own community,” he said.  “If one of my fellow law enforcement officers on the West Coast says to me, I saw this last week — that’s going to be a trusted source for me.”

There are a few organizations in the cybersecurity space where that’s their core competence. Also, use some of the law firms that use cybersecurity best practices within their agency. Also using information from trusted sources within the community — including solutions providers, litigators, and community partners. 

 

SUCCESS FAVORS THE PREPARED

When a breach happens, your success in overcoming it depends on how prepared you were, according to Bagnall.

Calling on his experience as an IT professional before heading into law enforcement, Bagnall sympathizes with business owners who need to manage the goals of the organization — and he said he can understand where the recommendations of law enforcement might not always work well with a business.

“We always say not to pay because it’s a form of extortion, and that’s something as an agency that you can’t support, but at the end of the day, that’s a law enforcement recommendation. It’s a business decision — do we pay?”

Good preparation includes having a cyber incident response plan. Having awareness training within their team. But, those things don’t always happen — and sometimes, the best way to react is through taking a step back when a ransomware issue comes up and doing what’s best for the organization. 

“If I were giving advice to a CEO, I’d say, forget about looking at backup and recovery, and the latest whiz-bang solution that’s going to help you recover from ransomware,” Bagnall said. “Look at your business and look at what you really need to do to continue the business in the face of something like this.”

The first thing they should do is to get some expertise. Get some boots-on-the-ground to manage this. The value of engaging a breach coach is huge, Bagnall suggested. In fact, Digital Guardian published in 2018 that on average, a company in the US that was breached is out about $8 million. A breach in Canada will run the company about $4.4 million (USD). 

While you’re managing the breach on a professional level, don’t forget to reach out to law enforcement. 

“Historically, law enforcement isn’t the first call. But hopefully if they’re doing things the way I would like to see them fit us in there at some point,” Bagnall said.

THE STATE OF CYBER CRIME

For Bagnall, the biggest threat is ransomware and business email compromise. 

“I think the biggest hurdle is still ignorance. A lack of understanding and a lack of awareness, both individually and in organizations as to what threats are and how we can best combat them,’ he warned. “Trust no one.”

“We are not making cybercrime watercooler conversation. It should be part of the everyday vernacular. Around the watercooler. To our kids, to our parents,” he said. “I think it’s only when we start having that dialogue, we’ll start making headway.

So what’s next? Bagnall’s next project is something he’s calling “Cyber Cop 2030.” 

“It’s really what cyber investigations may look like, in my opinion, ten years from now. And what it should look to become more efficient. Because it’s not today.”

We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled for Kenrick 3.0 as he progresses this effort.

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