Head, Canadian Centre for Cyber Security
One year ago, a global pandemic thrust Canadians into a situation we never expected to face. Our personal and professional lives were forced to transition quickly to a more digital landscape — everything from work to leisure and homeschooling to grocery shopping. As our devices became even more important, cyber criminals took note.
The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security (Cyber Centre)’s National Cyber Threat Assessment 2020 report showed that as Canadians adopted new technology and embraced more internet connected devices, cybercrime remained the cyber threat most likely to affect Canadians and Canadian organizations in 2021, and in the years ahead.
While you might think cyber threats only target large organizations or governments, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are most likely to face cyber threat activity in the form of cybercrime that often has immediate financial or privacy implications.
And we see SMBs being targeted every day. Cyber criminals can shift their tactics quickly to take advantage of themes of the day. They use cheap yet sophisticated cyber tools to steal information, including ransomware and phishing scams. Cyber threat actors target Canadian businesses for their data about customers, partners and suppliers, financial information and payment systems, and proprietary information. Cyber security incidents can also result in reputational damage, productivity loss, intellectual property theft, operational disruptions, and recovery expenses.
The good news? There are simple, cost effective steps you can take to help protect your information. Following basic cyber security hygiene measures like software and device updates, and enabling two-factor or multi-factor authentication, are your first lines of defence against cyber criminals. Additionally, the Cyber Centre’s Baseline Cyber Security Controls for Small and Medium Organizations offers advice tailored specifically for businesses, while keeping in mind budgetary and resource limitations.
The Cyber Centre also recommends using a protected DNS service that blocks malicious websites. Canadian businesses can take advantage of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s cost-effective DNS Firewall for Small Business or Enterprise, which uses threat intelligence provided by the Cyber Centre, as part of its broader effort and mandate to protect all Canadians online.
Some of these steps might seem tedious, but they are often overlooked layers of security that can make the difference between an attempted cyber attack and a successful one. Good cyber hygiene and business continuity best practices, as they relate to cyber security, help to manage cyber risks for many of today’s most prevalent threats. It’s also best to limit administrative privileges, and segment and separate your organization’s data.
The Cyber Centre offers multiple resources for any Canadian, regardless of your level of cyber proficiency. From general advice and guidance on its website to in-class learning through its Learning Hub, it also has a public Contact Centre to help answer your questions.
The Cyber Centre is here to help protect Canadians from cyber threats. Following simple cyber security hygiene tips can help everyone stay more cyber safe and be on top of their cyber security.