COVID-19 pandemic: Why cyber security is more essential than ever

June 15, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has turned the world upside down. We have transformed our homes into offices, started ordering our favourite restaurant meals to go, and have shifted in-person hangouts into digital meetings.

The unifying element of all this? We’re spending more time online than ever before.

And that’s making cyber security more important than it’s ever been.

Here are four ways the COVID-19 pandemic has made cyber security more essential.

We’re online more

Without a commute to work or travel to our previous social obligations, many Canadians are finding they have more free time on their hands. Many of us are spending more time online for work and social purposes, and that means we are more vulnerable to cyber threats.

It is more important than ever to take basic steps to improve your cyber security.

A good place to start is with multi-factor authentication, strong passwords and regularly updating your software.

We depend on the Internet for more

Shopping at a real store may not be an easy option for you these days. Many stores have closed or reduced their services to keep workers and shoppers safe, and to stop the spread of COVID-19.

As a result, much of our shopping has moved online.

Be on guard for e-commerce cyber scams, which can include everything from a fake online store (designed to extract your credit card information without ever intending to deliver the product you think you are buying) and fake shipping notices for products you didn’t order.

We’re our own IT team

For many workers, one of the perks of working in an office is our ability to rely on an IT team to help protect our networks and devices from cyber attacks.

When you’re working from home, you may not have as much IT support.  In a way, you’ve become your own IT team, meaning you have to make sure  that you take precautions to protect yourself against cyber attacks and pay more attention to cyber security in your everyday activities

For example, you should  always use strong passwords and regularly update your operating systems and applications.

You should also protect your home Wi-Fi network by changing the default password that your internet service provider gave you.

We’re more susceptible to tricks

It’s OK to not be OK during a pandemic. We are more stressed about our families, our work, and our health.

All this stress makes it more difficult  to focus and process information. It may be more difficult to recognize a scam or detect a lie, because there’s so much going on around us.

Cyber criminals know this, and they are taking advantage of COVID-19 to try to trick victims into giving up information.

For example, cyber criminals are posing as health authorities and government agencies.  They are sending messages about positive test results or emergency relief benefits to trick Canadians into giving up their personal information.

It’s understandable why people would become victims in this stressful scenario. This is a new situation for all of us and we’re all trying to figure it out as best we can.

How can you avoid becoming a victim of a scam? Start with learning how to recognize the signs of a phishing scam.

Conclusion

The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our world. A lot of activities that used to take place in-person – friend hangouts, ordinary purchases, work meetings – are now online.

That makes cyber security more important than it’s ever been. Follow these steps to help yourself stay a little more cyber secure during this time.


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