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Majority of Canadians have been victim of cybercrime: report

The report sheds light on Canadians' online experiences and their priorities related to cybersecurity and digital privacy

July 9, 2020  By  SP&T Staff

image: ismagilov/ iStock / Getty Images Plus

TORONTO — The Cybersecure Policy Exchange (CPX), powered by RBC, launched a report on July 9 setting out a policy agenda that sheds light on Canadians’ online experiences and their priorities related to cybersecurity and digital privacy.

“We live and work in a time of unprecedented technology development and adoption further accelerated by events like COVID-19,” said Charles Finlay, executive director of Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, in a prepared statement. “We need urgent national policies that protect our security and digital privacy, while ensuring equal access for all. That is why we developed CPX–to be a platform for debating and advancing cybersecurity policy that is of critical importance to all Canadians.”

CPX undertook a survey of Canadians; key findings from the report “Advancing a Cybersecure Canada” include:

  • 57% of Canadians reported being the victim of a cybercrime;
  • 31% unintentionally installed or downloaded a computer virus or malware;
  • 28% experienced a data breach that exposed personal information; and
  • 22% had an online account hacked;
  • 13% have been a victim of phishing; and
  • 8% have unintentionally installed or downloaded ransomware.
  • Since the start of COVID-19, Canadians have adopted new technologies to stay connected making them more vulnerable to security risks. 55% of Canadians have used Facebook Messenger and 46% have used Zoom.
  • Only 26% of Canadians with a smart speaker or voice-operated assistant have restricted the information it can access through its settings.

CPX will focus its work on three high-impact technologies:

  • Social Media Platforms: Online platforms that enable users to connect and share user-generated content. Only 15% of Canadians trust Facebook to keep their data secure, compared to 62% who trust the federal government and 73% who trust health care providers.
  • Internet of Things (IoT): Physical networked devices connected to the Internet, from consumer electronics, to larger industrial and infrastructure applications. 68% of Canadians have at least one smart device in their home.
  • Biometrics and Facial Recognition: Technologies that measure and analyze a person’s physical or behavioural attributes to recognize or confirm identities, such as facial recognition. 41% of Canadians are uncomfortable with being captured by video doorbells like Amazon’s Ring, and 15% support a ban on these products.

“Cybersecurity has quickly become one of the most important issues of our time,” said Laurie Pezzente, senior vice-president of global cyber security and chief security officer at RBC, in a statement. “Questions of privacy and security are paramount for all Canadians and policymakers, and proper governance of these issues will ultimately contribute to a more prosperous and equitable world.”

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