Waterloo Regional Police have launched a cybercrime awareness campaign.
They say the goal is to educate residents about trends in the region, and will be highlighting several topics, sharing prevention tips during the campaign.
Police say cybercrime can take on several different forms, including online identity theft, financial fraud, stalking, information piracy and forgery, and internet child exploitation.
The following information was contained in a news release from Waterloo Regional Police:
Internet Child Exploitation
The internet creates opportunities for child predators to access images or use gaming or online chats to lure children. Parents are encouraged to have ongoing conversations with their children and implement guidelines with respects to the internet. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to:
- Know your children’s online activities.
- Know who your children are speaking with and what images they are sharing on the internet.
- Be sure your children use privacy settings on all social media platforms.
- Install age-appropriate filters.
- Set time limits.
- Pick a designated room in the house, such as a living room or kitchen, where the child can be monitored while they are online.
- Be aware of different streaming applications, including the ability to provide location and the risks that they pose to your child.
Password and Privacy
To avoid cyber attackers from stealing or guessing passwords, please follow these safety tips:
- Use passphrases instead of simple passwords, as a string of words is stronger than simple passwords. Avoid things such as your pet or children’s names.
- Install software updates.
- Use multi-factor authentication to unlock your device or accounts – there are hardware or software based authentication tools.
- Secure your social media and email accounts by applying all security and privacy settings.
- Consider an off-line password security manager to generate and store your passwords.
Phishing/SMSishing is the act of sending mass emails that appear to be from a legitimate source but contain malware attachments or links. Cyber criminals try to trick victims into clicking on links or attachments so they can infect your device or steal your data. These are often sent from what is believed to be legitimate public organizations (i.e. Bell, Rogers, Scotiabank) or government departments (i.e. Canada Revenue).
Be cautious before opening any attachment or link:
- Make sure the address or attachment is relevant to the content in the email or text.
- Look for typos or a plea of urgency.
- Ensure your anti-virus or anti-malware software is current and up-to-date.
- If it doesn’t sound right, it probably isn’t. No legitimate organization asks you for payment using gift cards or cryptocurrency.
- Only trust postal mail when receiving a link to pay bills or outstanding debts.
Ransomware is malicious software that infects your computer and displays messages demanding a fee to be paid in order for your system to work again. A common form of payment is through cryptocurrency (i.e. Bitcoin).
The best way for businesses and/or individuals to protect themselves is to use good cybersecurity measures. This may include:
- Ensure operating systems have up-to-date anti-virus and malware protection.
- Back up data and store it off-line or in a cloud.
- Contact police. Every report reduces a cyber-criminal’s ability to trick people and companies with their ransomware.
For additional resources, visit: www.wrps.on.ca/onlinesafety.