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9 Simple And Effective Tips For Protecting Your Online Privacy In Canada

Easy but important things to do as cybercrime rises during the pandemic.

"No, grandma, don't click that link!"

At one point, you've probably felt like a broken record telling your poor, innocent grandma not to click phishing links or fall for online scams as she explains to you how a nice man has offered her countless sums of money, and all she has to do is go to this website.

While many of us may understand the basics of online safety, that doesn't mean we're invulnerable. In fact, cybersecurity incidents are impacting more and more Canadians with Statistics Canada reporting that 42% of us have experienced at least one type of cybersecurity incident since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite our best efforts and vigilance, without the proper cybersecurity solutions in place, hackers can still get a hold of your information, compromise your online security and even steal your identity.

To help Canadians proactively protect themselves online, TELUS created TELUS Online Security Powered by NortonLifeLock. TELUS Online security is Canada's most comprehensive all-in-one protection. It features Cyber Safety and privacy solutions from NortonLifeLock to help Canadians protect their identity, devices, and online privacy. With packages ranging from $10 to $30, this easy-to-use service will help keep you safer online.

Features vary among the plans offered by TELUS Online Security, but some key features include:

  • Device Security: Helps keep your devices protected from viruses, ransomware, malware, and other online threats.
  • Secure VPN: Defends your online privacy with bank-grade encryption when connecting to Wi-Fi.
  • Dark Web Monitoring: Dark Web Monitoring continuously searches the dark web for your information and notifies you if your information is found.
  • Full-Service Identity Restoration: Should you become a victim of identity theft, a dedicated Identity Restoration Specialist will be assigned to your case from start to finish to help restore your identity.
  • Credit Monitoring Alerts1: Key changes to your credit file are monitored at a leading credit bureau and alerts are sent to you to help detect fraud.

And while no one can prevent all cybercrime or identity theft, here are nine simple tips that, alongside a cybersecurity solution, will help keep you safe and protected online.

Video Chat Safely

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, video chats have become a safe way to connect with friends, family and colleagues.

However, video calling can present risks to personal security. According to the Norton Internet Security Center, video chat software that is not encrypted can be easily hacked and stolen by malicious actors.

The good news? There are ways that you can keep yourself safe.

First, only use encrypted servers, which include popular platforms such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams. This will mean that hackers can't just easily access the meetings and see what is happening.

Also, be wary of recorded meetings as these can be stored on servers that are not secure.

If a video call is being recorded, ask the organizer where they plan to save it and consider backing out if you are not confident in that location's security.

Don't Use The Same Password For All Your Accounts

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Nowadays, it feels like everything needs to have a super long password with special characters.

Yet, you're only one person. Let's be honest; there's no way you can remember every single password.

So, if you're like 53% of people in this SecureAuth survey, the solution would be to just reuse your password. But, doing that is also one of the easiest ways to get hacked.

Because now, if a hacker gets one password, they can access a ton of other accounts that might have more sensitive and valuable information.

By duplicating your passwords, you make a hacker's life so much easier, and that's one thing that you never want to do.

So what's the real solution?

Luckily TELUS Online Security has you covered with Password Manager.

This tool remembers, secures, and automatically stores all your usernames and passwords so that they can't be lost or stolen. This gives you the best of both worlds — security and no need to remember all those login credentials.

Keep Your Email Off The Web

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Have you ever wondered why you got that email saying that you won a massive amount of money?

The truth is that you probably posted your email somewhere online and some scammers got hold of it.

You should always be super careful where you post your email online because, according to NortonLifeLock, there are many sophisticated ways cybercriminals can gain access to your personal information - including your email.

Risk factors include everyday things like using a public Wifi network, or even logging in to an unsecured video chat.

The unfortunate truth is that if you put your email on the web, it could eventually be found by a hacker. One potential tip is to consider using "throwaway" email accounts in situations where you have no other option.

Make Sure That You're On A Reliable Website

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It may be surprising, but building a website that looks legit is actually not that difficult — especially if you're already a hacker.

This is especially prevalent in the world of online shopping. Cybercriminals know that we're all looking for a great deal on cute items.

Unfortunately, that adorable product that you bought might have just compromised your security. It's paramount that you triple-check that the website you're browsing is safe before you enter any credit card information.

And how do you do that?

There are lots of ways to ensure the website you're on is considered safe. Some of them, like making sure that the site begins with https instead of http, and making sure you see the padlock in the corner of the browser bar, are more common. But that's no longer enough.

Now, you can make sure you're protecting yourself online by using certain trusted tools. TELUS Online Security, for example, has a browser extension that scans and provides safety ratings of the sites before you visit them for that extra layer of security.

Be Careful On Public Internet

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Sometimes it feels like the ultimate win. You're bored and don't know what to do, and suddenly you realize there's free internet.

Score! Now you can surf the web, check out what your friends are doing on social media, or watch a video, all without wasting your precious data.

But, public internet can also be a scary experience. According to NortonLifeLock, hackers can easily track what you're doing on free WiFi. They can see what you're searching for and even steal the passwords that you enter.

But luckily, TELUS Online Security has a safeguard that can help you go back to enjoying that free wifi.

Included in their service is a Virtual Private Network (VPN), called Secure VPN, that can help protect you online by encrypting the information you send and receive online.

A VPN acts as a barrier to protect your information. Instead of data passing directly through the WiFi network, it goes through an encrypted tunnel, meaning cybercriminals can't see what you're doing. Another great aspect of Secure VPN is that it blocks unwanted ad-tracking cookies.

So next time you're on a public internet connection, make sure to be super careful. But, you'll be able to breathe a bit easier if Secure VPN has your back.

Stay Informed

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One way you can get ahead of cybercriminals is by understanding them. Often, hackers tend to work in patterns, and if you know what they're doing, you can be better prepared.

Threats like ransomware, adware, spyware, Trojan horses and more definitely lurk online; and the best way to know if you're a victim of some kind of cybercriminal scam is to know what to look out for and to stay informed.

But how do you do that?

You don't have to be an expert, but make sure to take a few minutes out of your day to google the latest trends in cybercrime. This knowledge may only take a few minutes to acquire but can spare you a world of hurt.

Don't Save Your Financial Information On Websites

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Saving your financial info on a shopping website may save you a few minutes, but it could cost you your banking information.

Definitely not a fair trade.

When you check out your purchases, you're often asked to save your information for the next time you visit. While it may seem tempting to save time, keep in mind that even the most secure websites can be breached.

According to the National Cybersecurity Alliance, if you can access the information present on a website, so could a cybercriminal.

Beware Of Fake Charities

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As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect us all, many cybercriminals are trying to prey on people's generosity to scam them out of their money. And one of the most popular ways to reach Canadians is via the internet with social media and emails.

Unfortunately, scammers try to mimic real charities or even create fake ones that seem legit. And according to this NortonLifeLock blog, the problem isn't going away as people are more willing to donate to charities during the COVID-10 pandemic.

The blog post has several tips on how to avoid being scammed by a fake charitable organization:

  • Don't give money if someone pressures you to do so immediately. Real charities don't do that.
  • Don't give money if someone wants you to pay using a wire transfer, bitcoin, cash or a gift card as these methods are favoured by criminals due to them being hard to trace.

In the era of COVID-19, computer security is even more necessary than usual because so many Canadians are spending more time on the internet. A survey commissioned by TELUS found that 77% of Canadians are online more than before the pandemic.

Despite this, only 18% of Canadians are protecting themselves against identity theft and less than half (48%) have malware protection on their devices.

That's why internet protection like TELUS Online Security Powered by NortonLifeLock is so essential in our current climate. It enables Canadians to help protect themselves online.

In the unfortunate case that your data or information has been breached online, TELUS will be there for you with resources and a dedicated Identity Restoration Specialist to help you every step of the way.

For more information on TELUS Online Security Powered by NortonLifeLock, check out their website. You can also check TELUS out on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

*No one can prevent all cybercrime or identity theft.
1- If your plan includes credit reports, scores, and/or credit monitoring features ("Credit Features"), two requirements must be met to receive said features: (i) your identity must be successfully verified with TransUnion; and (ii) TransUnion and Equifax must be able to locate your credit file that contains sufficient credit history information. If these requirements are not met you will not receive credit features from the bureaus. You will receive Credit Features once the verification process is successfully completed. Any credit monitoring will take several days to begin after your successful plan enrollment.