Easy passwords and free Wi-Fi can make your devices susceptible to cyberthreats


There’s a holiday for everything these days. October happens to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

According to a statement released by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) the best way to protect online security is for users to make sure they use secure passwords and that the networks they connect to are secure.

A victim of cybercrime, according to the OPP, could end up paying thousands of dollars in repairs and damages. Using a weak password on a free Wi-Fi network can reportedly make a device more susceptible to cyber theft. Users can strengthen their passwords by using a variety of symbols such as capital letters, numbers and punctuation marks.

“We can’t stress enough how important it is to create, use and regularly change strong passwords and to take all steps necessary to safeguard your information when you are connected through any Wi-Fi hub. At the very minimum, make sure that any site you interact with uses HTTPS rather than unencrypted HTTP connections,” said Insp. Lisa Taylora with OPP Behavioural, Forensic and Electronic Services.

Furthermore, the OPP also recommends that users commit their passwords to memory rather than storing them on a computer or mobile device.

The OPP goes on to write that Wi-Fi hotspots are common targets for cyber thieves, as they are often unsecure and inaccessible to everyone. Users should never send or receive private information, such as financial or corporate transactions, while using a public Wi-Fi hotspot.

Some of these hotspots are in fact set up for deceitful reasons, and may even indicate higher signal strengths than legitimate access points.

“The next generation of criminals have a well-established home in cyberspace. It is incumbent upon all of us to do whatever we can to protect our identities and information from those who will exploit that information for criminal gain without hesitation — regardless of where they or you are located,” said deputy commissioner Rick Barnum of OPP Investigations and Organized Crime

Related: Global risk institute calls emerging quantum computing technology major threat to cybersecurity

[source]Ontario Provincial Police[/source]