A whopping 33.5 per cent of B.C. residents feel indifference when they read about fraud in the news, finds a survey conducted by Envision Financial, a division of First West Credit Union.
Envision Financial recently polled 500 B.C. residents via Google Consumer Survey about their digital security and fraud prevention attitudes and practices.
“While it’s heartening to discover nearly half of respondents feel outraged when they hear about fraud, it’s that apathetic one-third we need to get the cyber security message to because their indifference is putting them at risk,” says John Holbrook, cyber security manager at Envision Financial.
More survey highlights:
- 58% of respondents lacked confidence about detecting fraud
- 60.9% of respondents have antivirus software, 39.1 percent either don’t or don’t know if they do
- 42.4% of respondents are very confident about detecting fraud, 44.5% are somewhat confident, and 13.2% are not at all sure
- 34.2% of respondents have checked their financial accounts or apps or made a purchase on public Wi-Fi, 65.8 per cent have not
- 41.6% of respondents change their passwords every year
“I am not surprised by the results,” says Holbrook. “While people might think they are powerless to fight cybercrime, that’s simply not true.”
He recommends three simple, easy to implement strategies to protect yourself and your financial accounts against cybercrime.
Install antivirus software
First, make sure your system upgrades and antivirus software is up to date. The survey found nearly 40% of respondents either didn’t have or wasn’t sure they had this protection.
“Auto-updates for antivirus protection software and system upgrades reduces your risk considerably,” says Holbrook.
Beware of the network
His second tip is to only check your accounts and make purchases on a secure, legitimate Wi-Fi network. Thirty-four percent of survey respondents admitted to logging into their email, social or financial accounts on public Wi-Fi.
“The Wi-Fi at the coffee shop or hotel does not count as secure,” says Holbrook. “It’s far too easy for a hacker to set up a fake wireless access point that looks like the real thing and steal the credentials of everyone who uses it.”
Change passwords semi-annually
Password protection is one of the easier ways to keep criminals out of your accounts. Twenty-five per cent of respondents to Envision Financial’s fraud survey either don’t remember the last time they changed their passwords or have never changed them, which is significant. While it’s heartening that 41.8 per cent of survey respondents change their passwords every year, Holbrook advises doing it more frequently.
“Don’t have a ‘set it and forget it’ approach to passwords,” he says. “I reset my passwords every six months, and I recommend using different passwords for every account you have.”
Remembering that many passwords can be difficult, so Holbrook’s solution is downloading a password management app with two-factor authentication,” he says. “It’s secure, and two-factor authentication also offers that extra level of protection so you can use that hotel Wi-Fi without fear of being hacked.”
And if things go terribly wrong
It is imperative that you have proper backups of your systems that are stored away from your system in case of malware or a disaster situation.
“This could be as simple as backing up to an external hard drive on a scheduled basis and taking the drive to another location or using one of the many online or cloud-based backup solutions available to you.” Holbrook adds “Imagine if you lost all your kids photographs or valuable documents. What would you do?”