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Over 7 million Canadians hit by cybercrime last year

Over 7 million Canadians hit by cybercrime last year 

The report reveals that 62 per cent of consumers worldwide are convinced that it’s more likely that their credit card information will be stolen online as compared to 38 per cent who believe that they can lose their financial information from their wallets. What is more terrifying is the revelation that 47 per cent of respondents reported that they have been victims of cybercrime. 

The report went on to state that in Canada more than seven million people have been victims of cybercrime in the past year. This works out to be more than 19 per cent of Canadians who have fallen prey to cyber-criminals – an astonishing figure to say the least. The survey also pointed out that 70 per cent of Canadians believe that identity theft is more likely to occur than before. 

“Consumer confidence was rocked in 2014 by an unprecedented number of mega breaches that exposed the identities of millions of people who were simply making routine purchases from well-known retailers,” said Fran Rosch, executive vice president of Norton by Symantec. “Our findings demonstrate the headlines rattled people’s trust in mobile and online activity, but the threat of cybercrime hasn’t led to widespread adoption of simple protection measures people should take to safeguard their devices and information online.”

That simple protection measure boils down to one method to safeguard our cyber life – its password. What is appalling to note is that more than one in four Canadians do not have a password on any device according to this report. And of those that are using passwords, a quarter has shared them with others. It gets more bewildering, of those that shared their passwords, 25 per cent have done so for their banking account while more than half shared their email password.

What is ironic about the sharing of passwords is that 70 per cent of those surveyed believe that it riskier to share their email password with a friend than to lend them their car, yet 50 per cent of those sharing passwords do just that.

On the flip side, the group that is most stringent about safeguarding their passwords is the Baby Boomers. This many come as a surprise to many as this user group has been perceived as being less tech-savvy while millennials, who were born during the digital era, are more prone to share passwords and be involved in risky online behavior. 

Globally those that were surveyed lost an average of 21 hours over the past year dealing with the consequences of cybercrime. This is estimated to cost approximately $358.00 per person, totaling over $150 billion. In addition to the financial loss, there is the emotional toll on victims, with over 40 per cent in Canada reported feeling furious about being affected by cybercrime.

As cybercrime escalates it is imperative that we take one simple step to ensure that we are protected against criminals who have no other intention but to steal from innocent and vulnerable people. That one simple step is strong passwords that must remain confidential to us only.

To learn more about the impact of cybercrime and how consumers can protect their online information, go here.

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