Be smart with your digital devices

82455_optTaking basic everyday precautions to protect our physical and financial security is second nature to most Canadians. Wearing seatbelts and guarding bank card PINs, for example, are just smart habits.

But are we as careful about how we conduct our online activities? Thanks to smartphones and other digital devices, there is an ever-growing list of transactions and activities we can complete with just a few swipes and clicks. Mobile convenience is so beneficial, but here are some of the risks, plus some simple ways to protect yourself:

• Loss or theft of your mobile device and, with it, sensitive information: Ensure your device is protected by a strong password. Clear the history of your online banking browsing to keep that personal information from falling into the wrong hands.

• Disclosing your physical location: If you are eager to share the excitement about your upcoming vacation on social media, think twice. This will signal to the virtual world, including would-be thieves, that your home will soon be empty.

• Downloading viruses or worms that harm your device: When receiving emails, do not reply to, or click on, links that looks suspicious. Viruses and other malware can be spread through anything you download from the Internet via your phone, through text attachments, or Bluetooth transfers. In fact, even your friends may send you a malicious link without realizing it.

• Getting scammed: It’s not always easy to determine whether an email, contest, or promotion is real or a scam. Be vigilant about opening promotional emails and offers. When shopping online, look for the lock symbol on the website or “https://” at the beginning of the website address to make sure the site is secure.

• Theft of your personal information: Be leery about emails asking you to provide or update personal information online. They may look like official communications from your bank, but check first before replying. It could be cyber criminals trying to trick you into providing your financial information.

• Installing apps from untrusted sources: Trojan horses are malicious programs disguised as, or embedded within, some apps. They can delete your files and record personal information you’ve entered. Do not install apps from an untrusted source that seem to require an unusual amount of personal information.

Protect while you connect. More information is available online at

Ce message est également disponible en: French

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