Week 1: Oct. 2-6 | Get Cyber Safe and STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™: Simple Steps to Online Safety
Easy-to-follow, actionable advice everyone can use.
Canadians are among the highest users of internet-enabled computer technology. A priority of Public Safety Canada is to make the public aware of issues of security and safety and help Canadians stay safe from cyber threats. To better protect Canadians, their families and community, home networks and mobile devices must be secure, and vulnerableaudiences need to be taught how to use the internet safely, securely and responsibly. Week 1 will address the top cyber concerns and provide steps on how to avoid them along with valuable information about what to do if you experience a cyber incident.
Wireless networks enable the connection of devices together via radio signals instead of using cables or wires. They bring flexibility, convenience, and as you may have guessed – increased risk.
Smartphones and mobile devices that are automatically wireless have their own set of risks and precautions, which you can learn about here.
Securing your home wireless network.
When using Wi-Fi, the absolute minimum security you should enable is wireless encryption and password protection (WPA2 where available, otherwise WPA) on all your devices including your wireless router. Here’s why you should secure your home Wi-Fi network from strangers and trespassers:
- An unsecured network means anyone with a Wi-Fi device in your coverage area can access your personal Internet connection and your devices.
- You could be providing “free” Wi-Fi for all your neighbours. Many dishonest users also scout around looking for unsecured Wi-Fi to exploit.
- Trespassers can steal your bandwidth and usage capacity to download large files like movies or games, leaving you stuck with a big bill or restricted usage and download speeds.
- You could be liable for any criminal actions that were conducted using your unsecured network – even if you knew absolutely nothing about it!
- Your unsecured browsing history, passwords and log in info and email content can all be easily accessed.
- Your unsecured shared files can be accessed, copied or deleted.
- Your unsecured Wi-Fi enabled peripherals like printers or video game systems can all be easily accessed.
- Unsecured networks show up immediately as unlocked and vulnerable on wireless network scans on devices. They’re easy prey.
Now that you know why securing your Wi-Fi network is so important, here are a few other things to keep in mind:
- When setting the password for your home Wi-Fi network, always follow the guidelines for establishing strong passwords.
- Try to keep your coverage area limited to your house by placing your router as close to the middle of your space as possible, rather than placing near windows.
- Make sure that every device, which is on your network, has updated anti-virus/anti-spyware software to keep your entire network protected.
- Not using wireless encryption? There are two things you can do. First, make sure you enable the SSL encryption in the settings of the sites you visit (like your email). Second, visit the secure HTTPS version of sites and not the unsecure, regular HTTP site by simply adding an ‘S’ to the website’s URL.
- There are optimal settings for your router to maximize the security that is available to your particular setup. You may have to refer to your router manual or contact your provider.
Using web-enabled devices safely
Today, mobile phones are used for far more than talking: people use them to go online just as they would a computer, laptop or tablet. Not surprisingly, smartphones are quickly becoming more susceptible to attacks and fraud from the same kind of predators that target larger devices.
Learn what you need to know to about mobile phone security issues and keeping yours safe.
Find out more about mobile risks.
People across the country spend a lot of their time online, and Canadians aged 65 and older represent the fastest growing group of Internet users. Furthermore, among senior Internet users, approximately 70% go online every day.
Just like anyone else online, it’s important that seniors stay informed on how to stay safe when using computers and the Internet. Here are some simple steps you can take to help make sure your online experience is a safe and enjoyable one.
Two of the most important steps you can take are to always use security software, including an antivirus and firewall, and to keep your software up to date. Computer viruses and other malicious software often take advantage of known flaws in your software and older version of security programs to steal your information or take control of your computer. Most software gives you update notices, or better yet automatically updates or delivers the newest version straight to your device on its own. These updates are important and can go a long way to keeping you safe. If you’re not sure if your software is staying up to date, ask a trusted family member or a reputable computer retailer or service provider.
Email is one of the easiest ways for cyber criminals to target ordinary citizens. A good rule of thumb is to automatically delete anything that looks out of the ordinary. If the email was actually from someone you know, they’ll either try again or find another way to get in touch with you. Find out how to protect yourself when using email.
Protecting Your Identity
Identity theft happens when someone uses your personal information without you knowing about it. And the risks can be significant. When you do things like log on to a website, enter a contest, sign up for a social network or pay bills through online banking, you’re providing a wealth of information that can be stolen.
Learn about Online Identity Protection Tips.
Make sure your passwords contain at least eight characters, and one symbol. Watch our Secure Passwords video for a great overview on strong passwords. Then, read other password tips to keep you protected.
On Social Networks
Seniors are signing on to social networks in record numbers. Do it safely, making sure you protect your privacy. Three of the easiest things you can do to be sure of your privacy on social networking sites are:
- Choose a strong password
- Take the time to set your privacy setting to control who can see what
- Always think carefully about any information you choose to share online
What are the risks?
Entertainment, Games and Contests
The Internet has evolved to become many Canadians’ primary source of entertainment, including everything from watching television shows and movies to online games and contests.
Here are things you should do to keep yourself safe so you can enjoy the experience without worry.
How to Recognise Secure Websites
Booking travel or buying gifts for family online? Watch our Secure Websites video so you know the signs of a secure website.
Scams and Frauds
It’s not always easy to determine whether an email, contest or promotion is real or an Internet scam or fraud. The key to being safe is recognizing the signs of scams and frauds.
For more information on frauds and scams against seniors, read the RCMP’s Seniors Guidebook to Safety and Security: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/pubs/ccaps-spcca/seniors-aines-eng.htm