Cybersecurity – How cyber criminals will try to defraud you

A close up image of a group of people using their computers and smart phones in a coffee shop.

As part of our ongoing “Your defense in the digital world campaign”, this story, along with its companion stories, “Should I be afraid of AI?”, and “Cyber protection tips: 10 ways to ensure your cyber security” help you navigate your way through your cyber security needs.

For many of us, our connection to the web is constant. From your smartphone, smart speaker, tablet, and more, many of our daily activities occur in a cyber environment. It’s made things much easier, but it also leaves the potential for cybercrime.

Criminals will always look for new ways to find vulnerabilities. Understanding the ways that they do it will help you better defend yourself against them.

Social engineering – the use of psychological manipulation to trick users into trusting contacts

Phishing: This is where fraudsters try to get you to provide your information like social security number, banking information, etc. by sending you an email or message pretending to be a source or institution you trust.

Spear phishing: Like phishing, but the message comes from a person impersonating an individual you may trust.

Smishing: This comes through SMS (mobile text messaging) in an attempt to get you to click a link to provide sensitive information, make a payment, or download malware.

Impersonation fraud: This occurs when an imposter researches you through means like social media, often spoofing a legitimate website, then contact you for a fraudulent scheme.

Other cyber theft methods

Data theft: Cyber criminals will steal data stored on your electronics, or even the mail or bills you put in your blue bin, to gather confidential information, which they’ll either sell or use it for identity theft. They can access this information through weak passwords, poorly protected apps or software, compromised downloads and more.

Malware: Malicious software can come through direct downloads of software applications that you think are legitimate, but can infect your devices if you click on links or open attachments on e-mail or text messages. Malware leaves your information and online activities that fraudsters will use for financial gain or other harm.

Be cyber safe

Technology will always innovate and evolve, and criminals are in lockstep with those changes. So it’s important that you maintain an awareness of suspicious activities and take steps to guard your digital information and identity. Use encryption, securely manage your passwords, monitor your online activities, enable two-factor authentication, update your antivirus software, and stay aware of new cyber threats that are constantly evolving.

The content in this article is for information purposes only and is not intended to be relied upon as specific professional or expert advice. Aviva Canada accepts no responsibility for action taken as a result of reliance on any information contained in this article.

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