Over the past year and a half, the transition to remote work has left Canadians and organizations more vulnerable to cyberthreats. During this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month (CSAM), we should try to educate ourselves and develop an understanding of how Canada’s cyberthreat landscape has evolved and direct our attention to the future of Canadian cybersecurity.
Heightened awareness of cyberthreats
We recently conducted an online survey in partnership with Angus Reid to gather the opinions of current Canadian cybersecurity services users on digital identity and cybersecurity. The majority of respondents surveyed (61 per cent) said they always or often think about security of their digital identity when signing into online services, yet 54 per cent have never actively looked for tools or solutions to help manage the security of their digital identity. 78 per cent of respondents indicated that they spend more time online since the onset of the pandemic.
These numbers point to a concerning trend — the rapid shift to remote work and increased reliance on online services has put Canadians in a position where they must share more sensitive information online, which raises serious issues about digital identity.
Difficulties with the change of pace
With the shift to the work-from-home model, Canadians suddenly couldn’t rely on their company’s IT infrastructure. Service Canada and other organizations abruptly closed the doors of their physical locations, shifting to online access of indispensable pandemic lifelines such as the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit and Employment Insurance. These changes happened quickly — occurring alongside the multitude of other difficulties caused by the global pandemic — giving Canadians very little time to proactively adapt to the new cyberthreat landscape.
The pitfalls of sudden and complete reliance on online services are evident. According to our survey, 89 per cent of respondents said they had forgotten their log-in credentials over the course of the past 12 months. Even now, more aspects of life, leisure and work are moving online, which means more login credentials to create and remember. Usernames and passwords should all be unique to remain secure — featuring symbols and alphanumerical elements — and they should be changed often. It is an inconvenient and unsustainable system to accrue more and more login credentials, make them secure, and memorize each in perpetuity. These traditional models of usernames and passwords are outdated given these commonly shared problems.
Securing your digital identity
It is not just citizens that need to adapt their cybersecurity habits, organizations have fallen pray to frequent data breaches as well. According to the 2020 CIRA Cybersecurity report, approximately three in 10 Canadian organizations have seen a spike in the volume of attacks during the pandemic and one quarter of organizations experienced a breach of customer and/or employee data. Another 38 per cent don’t know if they did or not. Securing your own digital identity and personal information is one thing, but Canadians need to feel confident that their information is not at risk of being stolen from the organizations.
At SecureKey, we understand that securing your online information and protecting your digital identity is no easy task, especially as cyberthreats intensified throughout the pandemic. To ward off cybercriminals and keep Canadians’ digital identities safe, we have developed next generation privacy-enhancing services around the world to revolutionize the way customers and organizations approach these digital identity challenges.
Interac Corp., a leading payments network and digital ID provider, recently acquired the exclusive rights to SecureKey digital ID services for Canada. To meet the evolving needs of Canadians, Interac is building a network that will help citizens securely share and verify their identity information digitally. Interac will leverage SecureKey operations, technology, and ongoing innovation capabilities to accelerate secure online service delivery and enable the Canadian digital economy, while ensuring strong privacy and fraud protections are in place. For more on how digital ID is secure, read an interview between Interac and SecureKey here.
This CSAM, do away with useless usernames and password pileups. To take the first step in securing your digital identity, visit: https://securekey.com/