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Canadians still in fear of future cyber attacks

Although Canadians may feel secure in their knowledge of the dangers of the internet, they are unprepared for and still in fear of future cyber attacks. 

That’s what a new RBC study on cyber security reveals. While many Canadians (71%) are aware of cyber criminals and their strategies, over half (47%) are concerned that they will still fall victim to cybercrime in 2023. Interestingly, while most people are aware of well-known cyber threats such as malware, phishing, and ransomware, only 30% are aware of pharming and vishing, tactics with the potential to do more harm.

What is Pharming?

Pharming is the practice of redirecting internet users to a fake website to steal personal information. Defined, it leads users to a bogus website that seems genuine and secure and deceives them into disclosing their data.

What is vishing?

Vishing is short for voice phishing. It involves defrauding people over the phone or video, enticing them to leak sensitive company data. In this definition, the attacker attempts to gain access to the victim’s data to gain a financial advantage. Identification badges, driver’s licenses, and access cards are easier to show over video. 

Preparing for future cyber-attacks

The study revealed that across all age groups, two-thirds agree they must develop a personal recovery plan. Yet despite their concerns, just eight percent have cyber protection through an insurance policy.

The poll also revealed that older Canadians aged 55+ are much more likely to be concerned about cyber threats. These concerns include unauthorized access to online accounts or personal information, having their email or social media account hacked or being a victim of online fraud and scam. 

Overall, the poll revealed the top cybersecurity concerns are:

  • Three in five, or 79%, are concerned with unauthorized access to their online accounts or personal information 
  • Identity theft for 77% 
  • Seven in 10 are concerned about having their email or social media accounts hacked. 
  • Being the victim of online fraud or scam for 73%

Protect yourself against future attacks

Only half of Canadians use antivirus software or have multi-factor authentication as a security measure. Over two in five change their passwords periodically or use a strong password generator. Here are some tips to protect yourself online.

Keep your banking information secure: use a unique and strong password for each account. Consider using a strong password generator or create long passwords using multiple phrases you can remember.

Avoid public Wi-Fi: Avoid purchasing online over a public network, even if the website is reliable and password-protected. If you want to utilize private information to access a website or service while on a public network, think about using a VPN. Entering login or financial information in a public place can draw attention from persons gazing over your shoulder or security cameras.

Be attentive to phone, SMS and email messages: Ensure each account has a different, secure password. Use a secure password generator or make long passwords using a variety of easy-to-remember phrases. 

To keep secure on social media, be on the lookout for online fraud and take extra precautions to safeguard the privacy of your account.

I’ve created an interactive fraud alert mobile app, FRAUDSTER, available on Apple and Android. Stay two, three and four steps ahead of cybercriminals with alerts and updated information on the latest scams. You can learn more at www.FraudsterApp.com.

If you’ve already downloaded the FraudsterApp, click the training icon on the home screen to learn to protect yourself. Why not check out my Internet Safety Program? The program is a complete and effective online learning program to keep up with the rapidly changing digital landscape.

Follow us through October during Cyber Awareness Month for more cybersecurity information. 

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