The term "computer safety" seems relatively outdated. After all, what comes to mind - knowing enough not to share your personal information with strangers, not downloading files from questionable websites and other similar activities?
Canada's such a connected country that these types of mistakes shouldn't happen much anymore. After all, the Canadian Internet Registration Authority information revealed that 80 per cent of Canadians go on the Internet regularly. While making mistakes like entering personal information into fields on illegitimate websites might have been a common or at least acceptable mistake 10 years ago, that's not really the case anymore. Everyone makes blunders, but Canadians should be well-versed in many best Internet practices by now.
That being said, hackers are getting much smarter. While some things like phishing attempts from criminals pretending to be royalty - they just need bank account information to share their wealth - are laughable, trickier experts are finding ways to tap into networks with more stealth these days.
So, what do Canadians need to know to wage this battle against the best of the worst?
Anti-virus software is a must
Again, this might seem like a no-brainer, but Canadians need to make sure all of their devices - not just PCs or laptops - have anti-virus software installed, IT Business Canada stressed. Experts at Microsoft touted this at a recent Sector security conference in Toronto.
The news source said that this is truer than ever because there was a major malware spike in the beginning of 2013 in Canada. The rate of infected tools per every 1,000 computers rose from 2.2 to 4.1 in the first few months of the year. In recent months, however, the nation was able to get that statistic down to 3.5 devices infected out of 1,000.
In comparison to the rest of the world, IT Business Canada noted that Canada fared much better than the United States, but significantly worse than France and the United Kingdom.
The two malware families Microsoft Director of Product Management for Trustworthy Computing Tim Rains said Canadians should be on the lookout for are Sirefef and Alureon, as quoted by the news source.
Don't think you're invincible
Each and every Canadian is at risk if they use an Internet-enabled device - no one's better than any of the rest of the population in this case. GTA reported that it's even possible for experienced hackers to tap into some of the nation's most protected networks and websites, like that of Statistics Canada.
This revelation comes after leaders at the organization released statements saying that no information can be stolen, that data is behind ironclad protections. Various experts, such as University of Toronto computer scientist Arcady Genkin, have made public statements noting that it's impossible to have a completely secure network.
This means two things for Canadian citizens. First, they should realize that no matter where they are, what they're doing online or what technology they use, they're at risk, because hackers can go anywhere. Second, the vulnerability of all websites, even those run by federal experts, means that Canadians need to be on the lookout at all times, because even seemingly legitimate websites or programs can be hiding a dark secret.