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Cyber essentials: 10 tips for staying safe online

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month — an opportunity for British Columbians to assess their online safety.

The growing volume, complexity and diversity of threats online make it vitally important for people to do all they can to safeguard electronic information from email fraud, ransomware, online scams or other attacks.

“Staying safe online is just as important as the efforts we take to protect our homes and loved ones each day,” said Jinny Sims, Minister of Citizens’ Services, whose ministry oversees government information management and technology. “People must think critically when being asked for their personal information and only interact with companies and organizations they know and trust.”

The cost of cybercrime is growing exponentially and is expected to reach $6 trillion globally by 2021. This is an increase from $400 billion in early 2015.

Here are 10 tips to help keep British Columbians safe online:

  1. Do not provide personal information to unknown requesters – look up the name and phone number independently to call them back and verify their identity.
  2. Use strong passwords with letters, numbers and symbols, and do not share them.
  3. Do not click on unfamiliar links and attachments.
  4. Delete social media profiles that are no longer in use (e.g., MySpace)
  5. Search yourself online (e.g., Google) to assess your digital footprint — see what comes up.
  6. Make sure operating systems and apps are up-to-date.
  7. Be selective when downloading and do not download from unknown sources.
  8. Back up important data, files or information to the cloud or an external device.
  9. Use up-to-date anti-virus and anti-malware software.
  10. Do not plug unknown devices into a laptop or computer.

Quick Facts:

  • Just as individuals must work to stay safe online, governments must be hyper vigilant about protecting information systems.
  • Security experts protect the provincial government systems from about 240 million cyber attacks, ranging from spam or phishing emails, to more sophisticated hacks every day.
  • This breaks down to about 2,778 attacks per second.
  • According to Deloitte and the Toronto Financial Services Alliance, the job demand for cyber security professionals in Canada is growing by 7% each year as organizations respond to evolving threats.
  • Deloitte forecasts the number of people working in cyber security to grow to 28,000 in Canada in 2021, from 20,000 in 2016.
  • The global shortage of cyber security professionals is expected to reach 3.5 million by 2021.

Learn More:

For more cyber security tips, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/services-for-government/information-management-technology/information-security/information-security-awareness/top-10-cyber-security-tips

Cyber Security Awareness Month in Canada has several themes to help people become more cyber safe: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/services-for-government/information-management-technology/information-security/information-security-awareness/cyber-security-awareness-month

Try the cyber security by the numbers quiz: https://bcgov.github.io/SecurityAwareness/October2018Quiz/index.html

Canadian Centre for Cyber Security: www.cyber.gc.ca

Get Cyber Safe campaign: www.getcybersafe.gc.ca


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