Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Safeguarding your Device against Cyber Threats in Canada

 mage from

Since the spread of the COVID-19 virus in early 2020, cyber-attackers have strengthened their efforts. The amount of device breaches reported during the pandemic has increased by a considerable margin. This has been attributed to the heavy reliance on remote workplaces since governments and organizations around the world have advocated social distancing.

Privacy Breach Reports from Canada

Focusing on Canada, many high-profile cybersecurity hacks have been reported during the pandemic. When the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, declared the launch of a contact tracing app to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, bogus apps were created. These applications contained ransomware and specifically targeted Android devices.

At least 10,000 Canadian online accounts have also become the targets of a hack. The cybercriminals attempted to breach government services in a bid to procure taxpayer data. The Canada Revenue Agency has also received reports of banking data being modified.

In July, the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSE) released a report stating that hacking groups from Russia targeted Canadian research labs. These cybercriminals aimed to steal valuable information related to coronavirus research.

Whether the digital attacks are focused on individuals or organizations, the effects remain disastrous. This is why you need to shield your digital accounts and devices from these hackers. Below, you’ll find some cybersecurity tips to protect yourself from cyber threats.

Steps to Heighten your Cybersecurity Level

  1. Cultivate Cybersecurity Culture at your Company

Hackers can gain access to a firm’s data through a breached account. If you have a company, encourage your employees to practice cybersecurity by creating strong passwords for their devices and online accounts.

Using a strong password that is a bit lengthy with numbers, uppercase letters, and symbols will make it harder for a cybercriminal to penetrate an account. Inform your workers to refrain from writing down their passwords where it can be easily spotted.

Employees should also cultivate the habit of changing their passwords once in 3 months. This way, hackers would find it more difficult to use brute force applications to breach an account. Seminars should also be organized at least once a year to educate workers on cybersecurity practices and trends.

Anyone having trouble with creating or remembering a strong password can be referred to password management services.

  1. Use a VPN

A VPN is a technology that establishes an encoded connection between your device and the network you’re connected to. In simple terms, it protects users from hackers that want to spy on data flowing between your device and the internet.

VPNs are useful to both individuals and organizations. People often connect to public Wi-Fi when they’re in public areas. However, what most people don’t know is that this makes your devices extremely vulnerable to hacking. If you’re connected to the Public Wi-Fi, every bit of information passing through your devices such as banking details, email, and social media data can be spied on by the hacker.

Turning on the app before accessing the internet would protect your information from cybercriminals.

Likewise, a VPN secures company information from cybercriminals, who tend to attack small and medium businesses for their data or a ransom. VPN services encrypt company devices by encrypting their online traffic once they access the internet. This way, their company's important data, and their customer information could be secured from prying eyes.

  1. Use Anti-Malware and Anti-Spyware Programs

In addition to using antivirus software, anti-malware and anti-spyware programs should also be used. They provide added layers of protection against cyber-attacks.

Ensure that the program can perform in-depth system scans, and its malware and spyware lists get upgraded frequently. A lot of people like to use an antivirus service that combines malware and spyware detection. However, antiviruses can only do so much and cannot effectively protect your device from malware and spyware.

  1. Perform Regular Updates

One of the most common ways hacker breach systems is by exploiting loopholes in the software. This is why updates are released periodically for users. Operating system providers like Google, Microsoft, and Apple launch updates to patch security bugs.

In the same vein, software developers also release updates to prevent hackers from sneaking in malware. As soon as an update becomes available, install it.

  1. Be Wary of Emails

Emails are one of the most used ways to hack a computer unsuspectingly. Hackers typically use emails to phish details and spread malware.

A phishing website is one that looks exactly like a legitimate website. However, any login information inputted into the website would get sent to the hacker, allowing him/her access to the account. Malware also gets into computer systems through the use of email attachments.

The malware would be in the form of a file sent to the victim. Once the attachment gets downloaded, the malware starts to operate.

Before you open any email, ensure that you are familiar with the sender. Before you click any links in the email, double-check that the URL address contains no spelling errors. Also, refrain from downloading files from unknown senders.

  1. Keep Your Information Secure

Cybercriminals are known to abandon the use of the internet for old-fashioned calls to perform hacks. If you receive a call from an unknown caller, be cautious about giving information about yourself.

Hackers could mask themselves as authorized callers from organizations. Even if you don’t give them information like your password, you could divulge your personal information to them. Sometimes, personal information could be used to access accounts like in the case of two-factor authentication.

Hence, if any unknown caller calls you, keep your information to yourself.

Final Thoughts

During the pandemic, several Canadian organizations and individuals have experienced cyber-attacks. Hackers reckon that more computer systems with low digital security levels are likely to be used during this period.

To prevent yourself from becoming a victim, you can take the necessary cybersecurity steps. They include using a VPN, double-checking emails, updating system software, and using strong passwords.


Thank you for this wonderful contribution.


Sylvain Richard.

No comments: