Cybersecurity Awareness Month Canada 2021 | The Cyber Review

October 10, 2021
Written by Farah

What is Cybersecurity Awareness Month?

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month—a month to create awareness about the importance of cyber security and teaching people about how to stay secure online, protect themselves, and their devices. The theme for 2021 is “Life Happens Online”.

Since the pandemic, life has been happening online. Our devices have helped us through the pandemic with work and helping us stay connected with family and friends.

Here’s how the government is helping Canadians stay online safely this Cyber Security Awareness Month.

Using strong passwords is one of the most important factors to raise awareness about. Ensure your passwords are long, random and unique. If your passwords are about 15 characters long, it will protect you from most password-cracking softwares. Try putting 3 unrelated words together and use unique characters.

Avoid using social media as a universal login. If your social account goes down—like what happened with Facebook—you may not have access to your other accounts too that are connected with Facebook.

Many small Canadian firms allocate nothing in operating budgets for cybersecurity: Survey

Many Canadian small businesses say they don’t allocate any portion of their annual operating budget to cyber security, according to an Insurance Bureau of Canada online survey.

The online survey was done of 300 small businesses in the summer.

Almost half of the businesses reported spending nothing on cybersecurity, which has gotten worse than 2019.

There were other findings such as:

– 21 per cent of respondents said their firm had suffered a cyber attack in the past

– Those who suffered from a cyber attack, 58 per cent said it cost them less than $100,000, while 41 per cent said it cost them at least that

– 66 per cent of respondents felt confident in their business’s ability to withstand a data breach or website shut down

– overall 24 per cent of respondents said their firm is insured in some way against a cyber attack.

Business owners should follow these steps to help secure their data:

  • enforce multi-factor authentication on login and network access;
  • focus on email security: enable attachment scanning, use external sender banners and train staff (or develop protocols) on spotting and containing malicious phishing attempts; and
  • run regular data backups and make sure the accounts used to run backups have unique credentials

The future of cybersecurity is AI, deep fakes and ransomware, MapleSec conference told

According to a panel of experts at IT World Canada, AI, quantum computing, deep fakes, and ransomware are the future of cybersecurity threats.

“AI-generated malware will be one of the emerging threats in the near future,” said Hadis Karimpour, associate professor and chair in secure and reliable networked engineering systems at the University of Calgary.

AI-generated threats will use intelligence to infect computers or deploy malicious applications.

Ransomware is another key point to consider. Online training isn't enough and organizations need to develop an effective program to create awareness of ransomware threat. Especially if networks are unpatched, ransomware attacks can easily take place.

In addition, deep fake content – the manipulation of video, audio or other digital material designed to impersonate people will increase.

Avoid clicking on links from unverified sources, treat security as an essential part of product development, and continue to raise awareness through effective programs.