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When Cybersecurity Is Top of Mind, Canadians’ Confidence Grows

cyber-security statsAccording to our recent Cybersecurity Study,Canadians recognize the need to be extra vigilant in guarding against cybersecurity threats that have become more pronounced as a result of COVID-19, but lack confidence that they are armed to enter this environment of perceived increased risk and exposure.

The latest Interac research demonstrated that seniors are seen to be most at risk, with 81 per cent of Canadians believing this demographic to be most vulnerable. The positive news is that nearly two in three Canadians (65 per cent) have taken action to learn more about cybersecurity risks. Despite this, confidence remains low and more education is needed to better identify threats, reduce exposure to risk and assist Canadians in becoming more cyber mature.

Canadians are the first line of defence between businesses and hackers. Consumers are well positioned to detect and prevent fraud, but organizations have a vital role to play to support and protect them against these risks. Security and convenience are no longer mutually exclusive. Consumers want better security without trading off convenience and quality of the client experience; however, everyone has an important role to play in protecting themselves online. A key focus of our work at Interac is to create an environment where consumers can transact with confidence: our products and services are built with tools and technologies to help keep consumers safe.

These concerns parallel the continued evolution of cybersecurity attacks, particularly the shift toward theft of identity-based data. At the same time, consumer spend is migrating from in-person to online, further accelerated by the impacts of COVID-19. Fraudsters are taking advantage by monetizing these identity-based credentials to unlock substantial value within the digital space, where one does not need to physically present their ID or payment credential in person.

However, Canadians should feel confident using online services, knowing that they are not alone in defending themselves against cybersecurity attacks. There are additional steps they can take to better protect themselves to spot phishing scams and prevent unknown exposure to risk and fraudulent activity online. Ensuring Canadians can transact safely online, Interac offers the following recommendations:

Understand the attacker.  Consumers are inundated with more online communications. This can leave them feeling overwhelmed and more susceptible to clicking on malicious links that would provide personal information to a fraudster.  Cyber criminals are increasingly opportunistic during COVID-19, preying on people’s online vulnerabilities to harvest personal and banking credentials for use later.  These synthetic IDs are then used to apply for credit, make online purchases and conduct other nefarious activity. Knowing what may be deemed valuable to a hacker allows you to see the warning signs when being asked for personal information online.

Cyber awareness is everyone’s responsibility.Many people and entities don’t believe these threats apply to them. Our Cybersecurity Survey also revealed that, due to their minimal online activity, 24 per cent of Canadians have not taken steps to learn more about cybersecurity risks. Consumers must be extra vigilant: what appears harmless may in fact be part a scheme to steal valuable data.

Modify your behaviour to better protect your data. Stop. Scrutinize. Speak Up.

If you have any doubt about an email asking for personal information or a notification of a money transfer or refund you weren’t expecting, stay alert and don’t feel pressured to respond quickly. It costs nothing to pause, and sometimes it costs your own money when you move too fast and don’t recognize the signs. There are many online resources, including those available at the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, to help you find out about the latest scams and what to look for. Consumers should always keep these tips in mind when they are online:

  1. Only engage with parties that you trust.
  2. Be extra vigilant when dealing with a new site and/or app until you establish a level of trust with the application or organization.
  3. Protect and use caution when sharing your personal information.

Historically, fraudsters have been focused on obtaining data including payment credentials, card numbers, and expiry dates. Many environmental improvements in the payment ecosystem have helped to make this data more secure, including innovations like Chip and PIN for payment cards and tokenization in the online space

As the shift to the digital economy accelerates, the reality is that consumers and businesses must become more proactive in protecting their data online and reducing risk. Security can no longer be an afterthought for consumers. The good news is that Canadians are cybersecurity aware; however, leaders in security like Interac have a strong role to play in providing guidance to help consumers enhance their cyber literacy so they can continue to transact with confidence.

The Cybersecurity Survey is based on a survey of 993 Canadians across the country, conducted September 3 to September 8, 2020.

This story was provided by Interac for commercial purposes.


The post 'When Cybersecurity is top of mind, Canadians’ confidence grows alongside the digital economy' was first posted in the Financial Post written by,  Jason Paguandas.

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