Almost half of Canadians are worried about being a victim of cybercrime in the coming year

Supported By:

Net Patrol International Inc.  Data Investigation and Forensic Services
Bankruptcy and Insolvency Trustees

A new poll on cyber security from RBC shows that while most Canadians (71 per cent) are knowledgeable about various types of cyber threats to their personal information, nearly half of Canadians (47 per cent) are worried that they will be a victim of cybercrime in the coming year.

“As Canadians live more of their life online, cybercrime has also grown year over year and become more sophisticated,” says Adam Evans, Chief Information Security Officer, RBC. “The poll reveals that despite a high level of concern, most Canadians have not yet taken steps to protect themselves and might struggle to recover from a cyber-attack.”

Cyber criminals have become more sophisticated and continuously evolve. While most people are aware of better-known cyber threats such as malware (60 per cent), phishing (56 per cent) and ransomware (47 per cent) there is lower awareness of newer threats. Only (30 per cent) were aware of pharming and vishing (28 per cent) giving these activities the potential to do more harm.

Pharming is the practice of redirecting internet users to a fake website in order to steal personal credentials. With vishing, criminals call or leave voicemails claiming to be representatives of a reputable company in an attempt to gain banking or other credentials.

Preparing for a cyber-attack

Across all age groups, two thirds (65 per cent) agree they need to develop a personal recovery plan. Yet despite their concerns, just 8 per cent 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 and are especially concerned about unauthorized access to online accounts or personal information (83 per cent), having their email or social media account hacked (76 per cent), or being a victim of online fraud and scam (76 per cent).

Overall, the poll revealed that the top concerns around cyber threats and security include:

  • Four in five are concerned with unauthorized access to their online accounts or personal information (79 per cent)
  • Identity theft (77 per cent)
  • Seven in 10 are concerned about having their email or social media accounts hacked (74 per cent)
  • Being the victim of online fraud or scam (73 per cent)

Protecting against cybercrime

When it comes to simple steps to protect against cybercrime, the poll revealed that only half of Canadians use antivirus software (50 per cent) or have multi-factor authentication (49 per cent) as security measures. Just over two in five change their passwords periodically (46 per cent) or use a strong password generator (42 per cent).

Younger people in the 18-34 age group are significantly more likely than their older counterparts to say they are knowledgeable about most threats to their safety and security of their personal information. However, they are not more likely to take protective measures:

  • Only 34 per cent of people in the 18-34 age group have updated antivirus software installed on their devices and only 35 per cent change their passwords periodically.

In comparison

  • Older generations 35-54 and 55+ are much more likely to have updated antivirus software installed on devices (45 per cent and 67 per cent respectively) and change their passwords periodically (50 and 51 per cent respectively).

Tips to protect yourself against online cyberattacks and increase your cyber security

  • Keep your banking information secure: use a unique and strong password for each account. Consider using a strong password generator or create long passwords that use 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. 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 phone, SMS and email messages: there are many different types of scams that target people using social media, dating sites, email or by phone. Generally, these attacks attempt to acquire banking info for an immediate or urgent payment. Other types ask for an individual to confirm and/or reset their login ID and password in order to steal account credentials.
  • Visit RBC’s Be Cyber Aware site for more tips and articles on how to protect yourself online

These are the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of RBC. The survey was conducted in English and French. A sample of 1,500 Canadians was surveyed online via the Ipsos I-Say panel from Aug 12th to Aug 17th, 2022.

This article was originally sourced from