Cyber-Safety – Do you practice safe cyber surfing?

I’m sure you must have heard of those infamous emails a few years back from a “Nigerian Prince” demanding your bank account information to “share” his inheritance with you or most recently, messages purporting to be from Canada Revenue Agency where you “owe” thousands in backed taxes and can pay them back with Itunes gift cards. I’m sure some of you are thinking “I would never fall for that!!!” but unfortunately some people do. It’s not because they aren’t as smart or clever as the rest of the population. It’s because some of these scams are constructed to appear legitimate. It’s important to keep in mind common sense tips to ensure that you don’t fall victim to scams or have your identity stolen online.

Common Sense Tips for safe cyber surfing:

  • Don’t give out personal information
  • Don’t trust people you don’t know or haven’t met
  • Don’t download unknown files or click on unknown links
  • Set strong passwords for your accounts as well as your Wi-Fi

computer  wordle

Although these tips may seem to be very basic, it is important to have occasional reminders as many of us live fast-paced lives and sometimes need a refresher on the basics just like this article by Gary Davis that names the top 5 most dangerous email subject lines.

For more reading on internet safety, visit the RCMP’s information page where you’ll learn about other safety themed topics. Next week’s blog will continue on the cyber-safety theme, precisely dealing with teens and cyber bullying.


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What do you do to ensure your online safety? Share your favourite safe cyber surfing tips with other readers

4 thoughts on “Cyber-Safety – Do you practice safe cyber surfing?

  1. Nice post Sali and an interesting topic! Cyber-safety is so important nowadays and you’re right, it’s very easy to be fooled by some of these convincing scams. It’s not just adults that need education on this either. Kids are in serious need of more cyber-safety education from a young age because these scams will become more and more convincing as time passes. We need to instill a certain amount of caution from a young age to ensure that kids grow up to be cyber-safe adults.

  2. Very informative post! I would say it’s also very timely, with so many security breaches taking place throughout the world (on a much larger scale of course) that it is definitely something we must all be more weary of.

    My sister actually had her Facebook account hacked a couple of months ago and because they changed the email and password information, she was unable to retrieve the account. The worst thing that comes of a situation like this is the invasion of privacy, now this person essentially owns her photos and online (Facebook) identity. It has definitely taught me to be more cautious online and think twice about sharing more information then in required!

  3. It’s interesting to read the 5 most dangerous email subject lines that you share. I definitely think hackers are getting smarter and better at constructing scams that appear legitimate. In line with dalebrussellers’ comment, I also think children need more education on the topic. Technology is a part of their reality and the consequences for clicking a wrong link or engaging with the wrong account can be significant. Resources on Internet safety are now coming from legitimate sources (such as the RCMP, as you have shared) – we should make sure they are made available to youth.

  4. My dad works for Revenue Canada and is always baffled by some of the stories you mentioned, like the people who believe iTunes gift cards will pay off any supposed debt. His rule of thumb for any government-related correspondence is if doesn’t come by mail, there’s about a 99% chance it’s fraudulent.

    One thing I always do if I come across an email that looks suspicious is I check the email address itself. Often times the image associated with the email address will be similar or identical to the organization the fraudsters are trying to mimic, as will the words before the @ symbol, so that can make it tough to decipher real from fake. But what comes after the @ is usually completely different (and obviously fake), so that’s a dead giveaway.

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