Canadians are not doing enough to protect themselves against increasing cyber threats: RBC Cyber Security Poll

While 71 per cent of Canadians are knowledgeable about various types of cyber threats, only 24 per cent have credit and identity protection to help them recover from a cyberattack, a new poll on cyber security from Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), found. A representative sample of 1,500 Canadians was surveyed online.

Accordingly, 47 per cent of Canadians, particularly older Canadians aged 55+, are worried that they will be a victim of a cybercrime in the coming year. They expressed concerns about unauthorized access to online accounts or personal information (80 per cent), having their email or social media account hacked (76 per cent) or being a victim of online fraud and scams (76 per cent).  

Despite 65 per cent of respondents agreeing that they need to develop a personal recovery plan, only eight per cent had cyber protection through an insurance policy. Additionally, the poll revealed that just under 50 per cent  respondents use antivirus software, multi-factor authentication, and change their passwords. 

Younger generations, despite being more likely to say they are knowledgeable about different types of cyber threats, are less likely to adopt security measures compared to their older counterparts. Respondents aged  55+ are much more likely to have installed updated antivirus software on their devices (67 per cent) and changed their passwords regularly (51 per cent) compared to only 34 per cent in the 18-34 age group.

Adam Evans, chief information security officer (CISO) of RBC said that “older generations have a healthy level of skepticism and tend to not have the same digital or cyber literacy of younger folks who consume far more technology. Bringing these two things together would make a much more informed individual.”

The study concludes with three tips to protect yourself against online cyberattacks:

  • Keep your banking information secure: use a unique and strong password for each account or a strong password generator that creates long passwords with multiple phrases that you can remember.
  • Steer clear of public Wi-Fi: avoid shopping online over a public network even if it is reputable and password protected, and consider using a VPN if you plan to use private credentials to access a website or app while on a public network. Be aware of people looking over your shoulder or surveillance cameras when entering login or banking information in a public setting.
  • Be wary of unknown/suspicious phone calls, social media, SMS and email messages: scammers use different tactics such as calling/emailing/texting to steal banking info or account credentials by tricking victims into revealing banking information citing fictitious urgent payments, or persuading them to click malicious links to supposedly reset login IDs or passwords.

Evans also shared with IT World Canada the steps to take once someone realizes they are scammed:

  • “If you’re personally affected, contact the concerned organization. For instance, if your online banking info is compromised, contact your bank so that they are aware and can deploy help as early as possible”
  • “If it is a more harmful or widely targeted threat, contact the the Canadian Center for Cybersecurity or sign up for identity protection services that will allow you to restore the integrity of your identity”

Having a plan of what you are going to do when you are scammed is very important, Evans said.

“Law enforcement can’t fix what they don’t know about. So keeping them apprised of the kinds of things that we’re seeing also gives them an opportunity to step in and hopefully protect more Canadian citizens once we understand the nature of the threat”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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