It seems that lately all manners of scammers, spammers and various nefarious cyber creatures have been increasing their attacks on us. I have been bombarded daily by phishing emails that announce that I won something from COSTCO or Amazon etc. My cell phone has been flooded by phone calls from scammers pretending to be government agents asking for money or the swat team will come knocking at your door.
Spam, Phishing, Scams, and fraud
Spam is any unsolicited commercial electronic message. It is often a source of scams, computer viruses and offensive content. Canada’s antispam legislation (CASL) is in place to protect Canadians while ensuring that businesses can continue to compete in the global marketplace.
Phishing is a general term for emails, text messages and websites fabricated and sent by
criminals and designed to look like they come from well-known and trusted businesses, financial institutions, and government agencies to collect personal, financial and
Scams and Fraud include false, deceptive, misleading or fraudulent acts. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on such matters as mass marketing fraud (e.g., telemarketing), advance fee fraud (e.g., West African letters), tax scams (calls purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency), Internet fraud and identification theft
The pandemic effect
The global pandemic has forced a lot of Canadians to venture increasingly in the cyberworld for a multitude of different reasons. From shopping to zoom videos and from games to tv people are more and more glued on various screens of different sizes. Statistics Canada has conducted surveys since the beginning of the pandemic to see how Canadians are faring during these challenging times. Just over 4 in 10 respondents reported that they were spending more time on social media and messaging services (41%) since the onset of the pandemic, while 3% spent less time. Young Canadians aged 15 to
34 (57%) were most likely to have increased their use of social media and messaging services, while seniors aged 65 and older (18%) were the least likely to have done so. As reported by the CPSS earlier this summer, almost half of Canadians (46%) have increased their use of free streaming video services
such as YouTube. The increase was the most pronounced among young Canadians, with just over two-thirds of 15 to 34 year olds (68%) reporting increased use of online video streaming services. Canadians also reported increased use of free online information services and online educational services since the onset of the pandemic.
One-third of Canadians have experienced a phishing attack The pandemic did not diminish the volume of cyber incidents faced by Canadians, and led to some new, targeted attacks directly related to
information about COVID-19. Just over 4 in 10 Canadians (42%) experienced at least one type of cyber security incident since the beginning of the pandemic, including phishing attacks, malware, fraud and hacked accounts.
Just over one-third of respondents received phishing attacks since the start of the pandemic, a specific type of spam targeting individuals with the intent of defrauding the recipient, while 14% of respondents reported at least one phishing attack related to COVID test results, a potential cure for the virus or about the Canada Emergency Response Benefit.
Just over one-third (36%) of those reporting at least one cyber security incident experienced a loss as a result of the incident. Among those who experienced a loss, the most common were a loss of time (87%), followed by loss of data (13%) or financial loss (13%). Just under one-third of Canadians that experienced a cyber security incident during the pandemic reported the incident. Canadians were most likely to report the incident to the company through which the incident occurred (11%) or to a credit card company or other financial institution (12%) in the event of payment card fraud or financial loss. Approximately, 5% of individuals that experienced an incident reported it to an authority such as the police or the Canadian Centre for Cyber Security.
Although most Canadians maintained the same cyber security measures as before the pandemic, some age groups reported heightened awareness of privacy. This shift was most pronounced among younger Canadians, with three-quarters (75%) of those aged 15 to 34 increasing or maintaining their usage of multi-factor authentication, compared with less than half of those aged 65 and older (39%). Just under one-half of young Canadians (47%) maintained or increased their purchases of new or additional security software. Meanwhile, 28% of seniors did. Just over one-fifth (21%) of Canadians said they
had increased restricting or refusing access to their geographic location or refused the use of personal data for advertising purposes since the onset of the pandemic. Canadians also took specific steps to protect themselves when they were shopping online and almost two-thirds have helped someone navigate digital technologies during the pandemic
Municipalities have also embarked on the fight against cybercrime with many workshops and
info sessions and an emphasis on the elderly. The City of Sainte-Thérèse is doing its part by
also informing its citizens via an online workshop and giving them the tools for recognizing
and protecting from phishing. This workshop is helping people to identify phishing and counterfeits in order to protect themselves on the Web. The topics are: Understand the objectives of phishing, know the legal remedies, identify fraudulent emails and identify counterfeit websites.