Older Canadians better at protecting against cyberattacks, poll says

Is your online information secure? A new poll from Royal Bank of Canada has found half of the Canadians surveyed are worried about being a victim of a cyberattack, but it seems it’s older people who are more likely to do something about it.

Most Canadians asked believe they are fairly knowledgeable about cyberattacks and the ways criminals target people online, however, the poll finds fewer are aware of the latest types of threats.

“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,” reads a release from RBC.

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Pharming is where internet users are redirected to a fake website that is designed to steal personal information. With vishing, criminals call or leave voicemails claiming to be representatives of a real company in an attempt to gain banking or other credentials.

“As Canadians live more of their life online, cybercrime has also grown year-over-year and become more sophisticated,” Adam Evans, Chief Information Security Officer at RBC, said. “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.”

Around three-quarters of those surveyed are worried about cyberattacks — access to their personal information, identity theft, social media hacks or being the victim of fraud or a scam — but when it comes to simple steps to protect against cybercrime, the poll revealed that only half of those surveyed 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).

The poll finds younger people are significantly more likely than those who are older to say they are knowledgeable about most threats to their safety and security of their personal information. But that doesn’t mean they are more likely to protect themselves.

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, especially those 55 and older, are much more likely to have updated antivirus software installed on devices (67 per cent) and change their passwords once in a while (51 per cent).

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