Don’t let the cyber thieves win this holiday season

 

Tips to keep safe shopping online on Cyber Monday and Black Friday

 
 
 
 
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two of the key days when cyber thieves hit.
 

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two of the key days when cyber thieves hit.

Photograph by: Fotolia, Anton Gvozdikov - Fotolia

More on This Story

 

More than seven million Canadians were victims of cybercrime last year, with millennials — thought to be more cyber savvy than their elders — among the most likely to get themselves into trouble by sharing passwords to email and other critical accounts.

These were among the findings of a report released Monday by information technology security company Symantec as consumers gear up for Black Friday’s launch of the holiday shopping season and cyber thieves make their own preparations to cash in.

Cybercrime cost Canadians more than $2 billion in 2014, with an average loss of $275, according to Symantec. Cybercrime victims on average spent 11 hours dealing with the fallout from the crimes, according to the report.

“When you look at not only the cost but the emotional toll that goes with it and the amount of time it took to deal with cybercrime, it is quite an issue,” said Jamie Manuel, Symantec Canada information protection manager.

While you might think safeguarding passwords would be a common sense first step to protect against cyber criminals, a surprisingly high percentage of people don’t do that — including more than a third of millennials who said they share their passwords, including banking and email passwords.

“Ironically, it’s the millennials — those who are more tech savvy; those 18 to 34 — who are the worst offenders,” said Manuel. “Part of it has to do with the fact they have more devices than the older generation.

“When we asked questions like whether or not they ever share a password, they answered in a much higher number than the baby boomer generation.”

Among those who said they shared passwords, 52 per cent said they shared an email password — akin to giving away the keys to the cyber vault.

Manuel pointed out if you forget your password, many online banking, shopping and other sites will let you click on a link to email a password reset. So anyone who can access your email account could use that to gain access to all kinds of personal data, including banking, credit card and other lucrative information.

“That’s a central hub of information …. you can get so much more from that one spot,” said Manuel.

John Russo, vice-president and chief privacy officer at the credit reporting company Equifax Canada, said we’re coming into a busy season for identity theft.

“In terms of the statistics we see, typically around the holiday season is when identity thieves strike,” he said. “Around December we see an uptick of around 10 to 15 per cent in terms of people reporting identity theft to us …. as well as in March break when people are away on vacation.

“Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two of the key days when the thieves hit.”

gshaw@vancouversun.com

vancouversun.com/digitallife

 
 
 
Font:
 
 
 
 
Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two of the key days when cyber thieves hit.
 

Cyber Monday and Black Friday are two of the key days when cyber thieves hit.

Photograph by: Fotolia, Anton Gvozdikov - Fotolia

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
We encourage all readers to share their views on our articles and blog posts. We are committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion, so we ask you to avoid personal attacks, and please keep your comments relevant and respectful. If you encounter a comment that is abusive, click the "X" in the upper right corner of the comment box to report spam or abuse. We are using Facebook commenting. Visit our FAQ page for more information.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Your voice