Personal Cybercrime and Protecting Yourself


We have been reading it in the headlines.  Major companies such as Equifax, Home Depot, and Yahoo victims of data breach.  However, significant corporations are not the only ones who are at risk of cybercrime.  If you own a computer, a mobile device, a smart TV and a tablet, then you are at risk of being hacked and fall victim to cybercrime.

Hacking and cybercrime?

Hacking occurs when your electronic device is broken into, and the personal and sensitive information is accessed.

A cyber-attack is defined as an attempt by hackers to damage or destroy a computer network or system.

Cyberextortion is a form of online crime that occurs when a person uses the internet to demand money or other goods or behavior (such as sex), from another person by threatening to inflict harm to the person, their reputation or property. Source  Definition of Cyber Extortion 

Cybercriminals can use ransomware to encrypt your data and then demand money, usually in Bitcoin in exchange for a decryption key.  Meaning they have taken the information on your computer hostage and you have to pay to get it back.  They may threaten to publish damage or block access to your data.                                           cybercrime

“While banks, retailers or credit card companies can sometimes be held responsible for losing their customers’ data, he says, they cannot be relied upon to cover the costs of everything that might go wrong. In cases of fraud and ransomware, for example, individuals might find themselves liable for the costs.” Source: Financial Times, Special Report on Cyber Security. 

Here is another serious consideration: Be sure to implement the proper procedures if you do any work for an organization where you may be storing people’s personal information on your computer.  Our hearts may be in the right place, but it is our responsibility to protect people’s information.  Others can hold you liable if there is an information breach on your computer.

What can I do to protect myself from Cybercrime?

The RCMP have given a list of top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips:

  1. Use strong passwords.
  2. Secure your computer with a firewall, anti-virus/malware, and anti-spyware software. A certified computer technician can help you with this. If you do many transactions digitally and use many electronic devices, it is a good investment in your protection.
  3. Be social media smart.
  4. Secure your mobile devices.
  5. Make sure your computer is updated.
  6. Back up your files.
  7. Secure your wireless network.
  8. Protect your identity online.
  9. Watch out for questionable emails and email scams.
  10. Call the right person if you become a victim.

Source: The Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Top 10 Cyber Crime Prevention Tips. 

According to a 2017 Canada Cybercrime survey conducted by Accenture: “When it comes to responding to cybersecurity threats, Canadians are lost. Less than half (44 percent) know how to protect themselves from cyber threats, and only 38 percent of respondents say they are aware of how to report a cybercrime to authorities.”  Source: IT World Canada.  One-third of Canadians have been a victim of cybercrime.

Canada Cybercrime Survey 2017

What can I do if become a victim of cybercrime or fraud?

Depending on the type of crime:

  1. Call the police if you suspect if you have been a victim of online fraud or cyber-attack.
  2. Seek the help of a certified computer technician if your computer has been ransomed.
  3. For theft of bank and credit cards, call your bank, the credit card company and a credit reporting agency such as Trans Union or Equifax.
  4. For theft or the compromise of federally issued ID contact Service Canada at 1-800-O-Canada and the Privacy Commissioner of Canada for identity theft issues at 1-800-282-1367. For your driver’s license or health card, contact your local Services Ontario office.
  5. Call the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501 or visit online.

Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre

In life, we use all kinds of safety measures. Life jackets when boating, seat belts when driving, we lock our doors to our residences, install security systems. It should be the same with all our electronic devices that use the internet.  Implement the right safety procedures to prevent cybercrime.  Not sure what your property insurance covers in the event of identity theft or a cybercrime?  Then feel free to contact our office to review your policy.