With the rise of financial cyber attacks, this year alone has raised a lot of concern for cyber-safety for online banking users. Statistics Canada reported that 86% of Canadians aged 16 and over accessed the internet for their own personal use. We can expect this number to continue to rise as more companies expand their digital offerings, and more users become accustomed to using online services.
Of the 86% of Canadians using the internet for personal use, 72% said they did their banking online.
The rapid growth of digital flowing through our country allows for a new(-ish) wave of criminal activity—cyber-crime. It’s not so new though! In 2012, Statistics Canada also reported that Canadians encountered 9,084 incidents of cyber-crime reported to the police. That’s basically 33 incidents per every 100,000 people. Of that number, offenses against property were the biggest contributed to cybercrime. What about fraud? Fraud alone accounted for more than half of all cyber-crimes reported to police. So, how can you stay on top of your accounts to avoid being a victim today? Follow these steps as your guide to cyber-security.
Choose Strong Passwords
We hate to break it to you, but you’re going to have to complicate your passwords to protect yourself from the odds against online breaks and attacks. Making strong passwords is your first and best line of defense when protecting your online accounts and identity. We know, no one actually loves the idea of having to remember long, complex passwords, but if we’re being honest, this is the number one thing that you can control to help keep your personal information safe. There are lots of tips and tricks on how you can choose secure passwords. Try this resource to get started.
Keep an Eye on Account Activity
There’s no one better to spot suspicious account activity than you, so make it a point to sit down with your computer or phone and go through your account activity. We suggest you make it routine whenever you sign in to your account, so you don’t have to keep tabs on when you last checked. You can also take advantage of account authorization functionalities. In most cases, you can cancel access for devices that look suspicious or don’t seem familiar to you.
Make Sure Device Software is Up-To-Date
Keeping your software up-to-date is critical to cyber protection. This really great cyber-security guide by Gizmodo suggests that “many vulnerabilities come through outdated software, so you should always make sure your operating systems and browsers are up-to-date to keep your computer secure and by extension the online accounts you access through them”. Luckily, a lot of operating systems automatically update, but if you’re prompted to update your software, be sure to make the time to actually do it.
Delete Inactive Accounts
Whether you’ve opened multiple accounts on social media or chose to be the early adopter of some innovative apps and technologies, it’s time to re-evaluate what’s bringing you value today. Try doing a personal audit of the accounts you’ve opened throughout your online life and close down anything that’s inactive. Why? Because old and unused accounts get hacked. More importantly, they become the gateway to the accounts you actually do use and value, so it’s best to keep your accounts to a minimum.
Make Account Safety a Routine Thing
Keep yourself protected from online attacks and hacks. Make sure you’re following account safety best practices regularly to keep your accounts and your personal identity free from fraud and other types of cyber-crimes.