Canada’s Fear of Cybercrime is Limiting Online Behaviour

The concern about cybercrime is stopping many Canadians from using online services.

New research from Accenture Canada found that more than half of Canadians are limiting what they do over the web because they’re worried about cybercrime. At 36 per cent, more than one-third of Canadians indicated they’ve been a target of some kind of cybercrime in the last three years.

But only one one five of the respondents who said they’ve been a target of a cybercrime in the past three years reported the incident, reflecting both a hesitancy to self-identify as a victim and a lack of knowledge around what they should do in response.

Accenture’s 2017 Canada Cybercrime Survey found that when these unwanted attacks happen, just over a third of Canadians (38 per cent) said they know how to report cybercrime to authorities.

“Canadians are concerned about their general lack of knowledge when it comes to preventing and reporting cybercrime,” said Arnold van den Hoeven, the public safety lead in Accenture Canada’s health and public service practice.

“The majority (78 per cent) of survey respondents want government and public safety agencies to do more to inform them about how to prevent cybercrime and to stay safe online, with one-fifth (20 per cent) of respondents specifically citing the need for increased education of citizens about their personal and data security when online,” he added.

While only one-third of Canadians feel confident the police can respond effectively to cybercrime-related complaints, more than half of respondents believe that new digital technologies can help police deliver more effective services. More so, 59 per cent of respondents said these digital tools can help the police build greater trust with the citizens and communities they serve.

Accenture’s definition of cybercrime included attempts to steal personal information, identify theft, online fraud, hacking into online accounts, and unauthorized computer use. The definition also captured cyberbullying and someone hacking into someone personal social media accounts—acts that don’t typically come to mind when thinking of a cybercrime.

Although someone gaining access to a Twitter or Facebook account may not seem worthy of a call to the police, Accenture found that 40 per cent of the more than 1,000 Canadians surveyed said they would report it to authorities.