April 15, 2020
Don’t neglect cyber security while staying safe from COVID-19. Here are three measures you can take to stay cyber secure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Double-check the pandemic information you are receiving
Uncertainty and misinformation have been more prevalent than usual during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Unfortunately, for Canadians, these are exactly the conditions in which cyber scammers thrive.
The most important part of staying cyber secure during the pandemic is ensuring you’re staying informed about what is going on with COVID-19.
As with most cyber security matters, staying cyber secure during this pandemic starts with educating yourself.
The best way to do this is to follow updates from official, verified government social media accounts and websites to get reliable information.
A good place to start? The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security maintains a page with resources related to COVID-19 and cyber security. It’s a great way to stay cyber secure throughout the COVID-19 crisis.
Avoid phishing scams
Canadians from across the country have pulled together to help each other out during this pandemic. Sadly, the same cannot be said for cyber criminals.
COVID-19 cyber scammers are exploiting the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 crisis to bilk innocent Canadians out of money, information and even their identities. A key tactic at their disposal? COVID-19-related phishing scams.
Cyber scammers have been targeting Canadians by creating scams related to the pandemic to trick Canadians into giving up information they wouldn’t otherwise want to part with.
This includes anything from phone calls falsely claiming to be raising money for COVID-19 relief efforts to fake e-mails claiming an item will be shipping differently due to COVID-19. More seriously, they can also include cyber criminals calling victims to falsely claim they have tested positive for COVID-19. Protect yourself by knowing the signs of a phishing scam. And remember, if you’re getting any message about COVID-19 you should be skeptical about how authentic it is.
Protect your devices
With many offices closed, Canadians are spending more time at home than they ever have before. A LOT more time. That’s why it’s more important than ever to ensure your home devices are secure – particularly if you work in an industry, such as the legal profession and certain government jobs, that require special amounts of privacy and discretion.
A good starting point is looking at the devices in your home and identifying which pose a potential risk. Remember: This list is going to be longer than you might think! Everything from gaming systems to TVs and smart devices are vulnerable.
It’s also worth examining items such as smart speakers to determine which might be listening.
There's a lot of information about COVID-19 out there. But it's not all legitimate. Learn how to tell what's real and what might be a spoofed website.
It’s important to take the measures the Government of Canada is recommending for staying safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. And at least part of that means staying cyber secure. The three methods outlined above are a good starting point for staying cyber secure.
Remember: We’re all in this together – even when it comes to cyber security.
Protect yourself by staying informed. The Public Health Agency of Canada is leading Canada’s effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Visit Canada.ca/coronavirus and follow the following social media accounts for useful, accurate information on the current health situation:
- Dr. Theresa Tam, the Chief Public Health Officer (@CPHO_Canada / @ACSP_Canada)
- Health Canada (@GovCanHealth /@GouvCanSante)
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (@CanadianPM / @PMcanadien)