Protecting yourself from internet scams has become more critical than ever before. According to a recent Internet Society’s Online Trust Alliance report, businesses lost over $10 billion to internet scams in 2022. This is a significant increase from the $3 billion lost in 2015. These scams come in various forms, including phishing emails, social engineering, ransomware attacks, and more.
We spoke with experts in the field of cybersecurity to gain insights into the issue of internet scams and what individuals and businesses can do to protect themselves. Ed Anderson, the Chief Technology Officer at Dyrand Systems, Glenn Kemp, the President of Clear Concepts, and Troy Drever, the CEO of Pure IT, a company that provides IT services Calgary organizations love, provided valuable insights on this topic.
The Growing Threat of Internet Scams
Internet scams are a growing threat, and cybercriminals are constantly developing new ways to deceive people. Ed Anderson says, “Phishing attacks are the most common form of internet scams, and they are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Hackers use social engineering tactics to trick people into giving them access to sensitive information, such as login credentials, credit card numbers, and personal data.”
Glenn Kemp agrees and says, “Hackers are always looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, and they often target small businesses that do not have proper cybersecurity measures. Ransomware attacks, where hackers encrypt a company’s data and demand payment to release it, are becoming more common and sophisticated.”
Troy Drever warns, “The rise of remote work has also created new vulnerabilities. Many employees use personal devices and home networks to access company data, which can be a weak point in a company’s cybersecurity defenses.”
Protecting Yourself and Your Business
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your business from internet scams? The experts we spoke with had several suggestions:
- Stay Vigilant: Be cautious when opening emails, especially if they are from unknown senders or have suspicious subject lines. Never click on links or download attachments unless you are sure they are safe.
- Use Strong Passwords: Create strong passwords that are difficult to guess, and do not reuse passwords across multiple accounts. Use a password manager to keep track of your passwords.
- Keep Software Up to Date: Ensure all software, including operating systems and applications, is updated with the latest security patches.
- Use Multi-Factor Authentication: Use multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever possible, which adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.
- Train Your Employees: Educate your employees on cybersecurity best practices, such as identifying phishing emails and what to do in case of a security breach.
- Backup Your Data: Regularly back up your data to prevent loss in case of a ransomware attack or other security breach.
Canadian Stats on Internet Scams
In Canada, internet scams are also a growing concern. According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Canadians lost over $98 million to scams in 2021. The top scams in Canada include:
- Romance Scams: Scammers create fake profiles on dating sites and social media to build relationships with victims, then ask for money or personal information.
- Payment Scams: Scammers pose as government officials, banks, or other institutions and ask for payment or personal information.
- Tech Support Scams: Scammers pose as tech support representatives and request access to victims’ computers or payment for supposed tech support services.
- Employment Scams: Scammers offer fake job opportunities and ask for payment or personal information.
- Identity Theft: Scammers steal personal information to open accounts or apply for loans in the victim’s name.
Internet scams are a growing threat to individuals and businesses alike. Cybercriminals continuously develop new tactics to deceive people and steal sensitive information. It is crucial to stay vigilant and protect yourself and your business.
Following the advice of cybersecurity experts like Ed Anderson, Glenn Kemp, and Troy Drever can help you stay safe. By being cautious when opening emails, using strong passwords, keeping software up to date, using multi-factor authentication, training employees, and backing up your data, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to internet scams.
It’s also essential to stay informed about the latest trends and statistics related to internet scams, like the ones provided by the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre. Romance scams, payment scams, tech support scams, employment scams, and identity theft are all common scams in Canada.
In summary, protecting yourself from internet scams requires a combination of vigilance, education, and proactive measures. By staying informed and following best practices, you can reduce your risk of falling victim to cybercriminals and keep your sensitive information safe.