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Why we’re focusing on “Life Happens Online” for CSAM 2021

We’re grateful for everything the internet has let us do this year. That’s why this Cyber Security Awareness Month (CSAM), we’re celebrating all the ways it lets us live our lives online and showing Canadians how to enhance their digital lives by getting cyber safe.

To give you an example of how Life Happens Online, let’s take a look into the lives of our friends Noémie and Ted (who you may recognize from their hit sitcom Device Appreciation Time) to see how they’re staying connected:

Noémie goes online to stay in touch

Like many Canadians, Noémie spends a lot of time on social media. They love seeing what their family is up to, chatting with friends and keeping up with the latest news.

Noémie knows how to use social media safely, so they never miss a moment of their loved ones’ lives. Their accounts are protected with secure unique passphrases. They also use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to have a text sent to them if someone tries to log in on a new device. If they get a suspicious message, they block the user right away. And when they share pictures online, they limit who can see them by changing the sharing settings to Friends Only and always checks the photo background for any identifying details before they post.

Because they take these steps, Noémie hasn’t encountered a cyber threat while they’re on social media. Sure, they get the odd phishing message from time to time but they’re a pro at spotting them and sending them straight to the trash!

Ted uses the internet to share special moments

As an avid gamer, Ted plays a lot of online games with his friends. They all live across the country, so playing games is a great way to spend some time together. Not only do Ted and his friends keep in touch through gaming, but they’re always sharing photos and screen caps of their games with each other.

To make their gaming experience even better, Ted and his friends often download mods they’ve found online. “Mods” is short for modifications, a term that describes extra files you can download that change something about a video game, like improving its graphics or adding new features. Ted is careful to only download from trusted sources and always scans each file with his anti-virus software to keep his computer safe. His game files and his friends’ photos are important to him, so he makes sure to back them up on an external hard drive at least once a week.

Because he’s so careful with his files, Ted hasn’t had to deal with malware on his computer or phone. Plus, he’s been able to save years of photos of his friends, making him the go-to guy for wedding speeches.

Noémie connects safely to get the job done

Last year, Noémie’s office went remote. They loved it so much, they haven’t been back since! But now that they’re working from home, Noémie needs to be their own IT department — and that means taking care of their own workplace cyber security.

One of the first things Noémie did when they started working remotely was secure their home network. They updated their router’s default login information and set up a guest network for their smart home speaker. Noémie’s work involves sensitive files, therefore they need to make sure the files get where they need to go safely. They also read up on spear-phishing scams after receiving several emails that didn’t sound quite right, like the one asking them to buy $1,000 worth of gift cards to give their boss.

Taking steps to secure their home network and watch out for workplace cyber threats has allowed Noémie to thrive in their home office. Their network is fast and secure, and their coworkers really appreciate them reaching out to check if they actually sent the suspicious gift card email!

Ted helps his family stay safe online

Much like her dad, Ted’s daughter Cam loves playing games on the family’s devices. But unlike her dad, Cam wasn’t quite so passionate about cyber security — until she learned more about it.

Between her remote classroom and online hobbies, Cam spent a lot of time on the internet last year. Seeing this, Ted made sure to take some time to teach Cam about ways she could be safer online, like creating strong passphrases and not sharing them with friends. Ted made sure to let Cam know how important being cyber safe was for keeping the whole family secure.

With all this new knowledge, Cam proudly declared herself the household expert in cyber safety. She loves giving family and friends tips about staying safe online. And when Ted’s phone dings with an email notification, Cam is always around to remind him to check for signs of phishing.

Conclusion

The internet is a big part of our lives these days. By taking small steps to make sure we’re using it safely, from letting us work and attend school from home, to keeping up with friends and family anywhere in the world— it’s easier to appreciate all the internet can do for us.

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