Survey shows most Canadians' understanding of cyber security threats and how to protect themselves is low
In the first major survey of Canadians' attitudes to cyber security and the financial industry, and in anticipation of Cyber Awareness Month, RBC partnered with Ipsos to survey more than 2,000 Canadians on their cyber knowledge to gain more insight into Canadians' concerns about cyber security and the steps they can take to protect themselves.
While 77% of Canadians believe they are knowledgeable on cyber security, only 16% could identify the majority of cyber terms correctly. Nearly two-thirds (61%) could not identify the term "phishing", which describes an email designed to trick the recipient into clicking a link or opening an attachment in an effort to steal information or install malicious software.
"As our world becomes increasingly connected through the internet of things, there are more reasons for Canadians to learn how to protect themselves and their data," said Laurie Pezzente, Chief Security Officer & Senior Vice-President of Global Cyber Security, RBC. "The survey results show we need to help educate our clients to actively safeguard themselves against malicious activity."
While millennials lead the way in terms of cyber security knowledge over all other age groups, they were also the least concerned about safeguarding their personal information.
• More than half of millennials surveyed were more likely to agree that they wouldn't know what to do if they were a victim of a cyber-crime, significantly higher than 48% of Gen Xers and 40% of Baby Boomers
• Six-in- ten participants were more concerned about cyber-crimes than traditional, non-digital forms of crime, including home invasion, car theft and burglary
As the speed and complexity of the cyber landscape continues to evolve, online attacks increase, and over-sharing of personal data rises, low cyber literacy is of significant concern. RBC is committed to providing Canadians with cyber security resources to help educate and protect our clients.
Here are some ways to spot a phishing scam and keep confidential information from falling into the wrong hands:
• Trust your gut: Beware of emails, text messages or phone calls from individuals or organizations that you weren't expecting. If an email seems fishy it probably is -- especially if they're asking you to click on an attachment or a link.
• Know your contacts: Remember that the government, your bank, or other businesses will never ask you for your password or PIN. And your uncle, co-worker or best friend likely isn't asking for confidential details from you either.
• Look closely: Are there spelling and formatting errors in the email? When you hover your mouse over the link that's included in the email, does it look valid? Are they addressing you by name, or simply "Dear Customer?" These are some tell-tale signs an email is fake.
• When in doubt, take matters into your own hands: If you're not sure if an email, text or phone call is legit, call the company directly (using a number you trust) and ask if they've been trying to reach you.