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Cybersecurity: Tips and Tricks to Stay Vigilant

As our use of technology increases, cyber risk and cybersecurity are terms we hear more and more often. But what is a cyber risk? And how can you protect yourself? Here are some answers.

Cyber risks: What are they?

A cyber risk is a threat to an electronic or computer system that can cause, among other things, physical damage to the device, loss of personal computer data and financial loss.

We often talk about cyberattacks or cybercrimes because hackers are behind cyber risks. They use several types of malware or phishing techniques to steal personal information or simply harm others.

Tips to help you stay safe online

From cellphones and tablets to smart TVs and appliances, any device that's connected to the internet puts you at risk from a cyberattack. Do you know how to stay safe? While you can't prevent all cyber threats, there are ways to better protect yourself.

Be smart about social media

Social media sites use data for marketing purposes, so you need to take extra care to protect your private information on social media.

  • Check your privacy settings regularly, as they can change without notice. It might be best to allow only friends to see your posts. And think twice before you accept friend or follow requests from people you don't know. If you need to use social media for work, create a separate account.
  • Don’t share your location. Anything from running routes, travel destinations or even events you'll be attending will show others where you are, and that your home is empty.
  • Steer clear of social media quizzes, even if they look like fun! They can take you to unsecured sites and make you vulnerable to identity theft or spam.

Protect your devices

Just as you'd protect your home or wallet from thieves, you need to protect your personal devices and data from cyber criminals.

  • Always use a strong password and PIN on your devices and Wi-Fi network. Make sure your password includes uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  • Protect your computer from viruses, malware and other threats with anti-virus, antispam and firewall programs. Make sure software updates are done automatically, and that you scan incoming emails for viruses.
  • Always check the web address in your browser window. If you don’t see "https" in the URL with a padlock sign beside it, then the website you're browsing isn't secure. And remember that your devices and data are vulnerable whenever you use public Wi-Fi.

Shop online safely

When you give personal information online, like your address and credit card number, you become a target for cybercriminals. Shop more safely with these few tips:

  • Only buy online from companies you trust. Go directly to the retailer's site, rather than through links or ads posted on social networks.
  • Don’t use public Wi-Fi. If you’re shopping with your smartphone, use your data plan rather than public Wi-Fi.
  • Pay by credit card or PayPal. And always check your credit card statements for unauthorized charges.
  • Clear your browser cache after banking or shopping online to make sure personal information isn't stored on your computer.

Protect your data from phishing

Some malicious people use phishing or scamming techniques to get their hands on your data via instant messages, emails or fake websites. Here are some tips to help protect your privacy:

  • Don't send personal information by email, like credit card, social insurance or driver's licence numbers. Hackers use email as one of their favorite ways to steal sensitive information.
  • Don't click links or attachments from unknown senders. Be cautious if you get an unusual email that seems to be from a trusted source, like a financial institution asking for personal information, demanding payments or offering a refund.
  • Learn more about the company running an online contest before you enter. Don't click a window that pops up and declares you a winner if you haven't entered a contest.

For more on this topic, visit:

Government of Canada: Get Cyber Safe

Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada: Protecting your privacy online

These tips are provided for information and prevention purposes only, are general in nature, and Desjardins Insurance cannot be held liable for them. We recommend using caution and consulting an expert for comprehensive, tailored advice.

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