Survey Findings - Personal Experience

Thirteen per cent of the people we surveyed are using their .CA domains for one or more personal websites. We asked them a range of questions designed to gauge their awareness all types of online threats, the degree to which they have been affected personally by cyberattacks to date, and what steps they are taking to protect their computers and mobile devices. 

Three quarters of domain owners attuned to cyber threat risk

Overall, this group reports a high level of awareness of the scope of the online threats they are facing, with 77 per cent rating their awareness as a 7 or more on a ten-point scale, with 1 being “not aware” and 10 being “very aware”. This level of awareness aligns with the findings of Canada’s Internet Factbook 2017 which found that 75 per cent of Canadians were concerned about the threat of a cyberattack against organizations they know.

Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) chose 10 on the scale, indicating that they consider themselves to be “very aware” of threats posed to their computers and digital devices. 

In contrast, only seven per cent of personal domain owners said they had limited awareness of the scope and type of security threats they are facing, rating their awareness level between 1 and 4 on the ten-point scale. 

In addition to being generally aware of the nature of online security threats, respondents in this category also report being highly familiar with the most common types of security threats and their impacts. These include viruses, phishing scams, ransomware, and identify theft.

Scale and breadth of cybersecurity threats a significant concern among domain owners

Not surprisingly, given the generally high level of awareness about the range of security risks among this group, a significant majority of those surveyed are very concerned about being victimized by a cyberattack. 

Overall, 68 per cent of respondents in this category report being concerned about the possibility of being targeted personally and financially, while 25 per cent of this total say they are “very concerned.” 

Indeed this concern is justified, as the number of those surveyed who report being the victim of a cyberattack is significant, particularly where it concerns computer viruses. For example, 24 per cent of those surveyed said they were aware that a computer or mobile device belonging to themselves or a family member had been infected by a virus within the last year (excluding those asking for payment of ransom). 

And when asked if they had been the victim of a ransomware attack on their computers or mobile devices in the last year, only three per cent of respondents said their device had been locked down and they had been forced to pay ransom to get it unlocked. However, when you ask them if they are aware of others who have been hit with a virus or ransomware that number jumps to 41 per cent!

In terms of phishing attacks, a large proportion of those surveyed—85 per cent—said they received phishing emails in the past year. A total of six per cent of all respondents said that this resulted in their online banking or other credentials being compromised, although 17 per cent of those surveyed in this category said they had to fix fraudulent transactions on a bank account or credit card within the last year, suggesting that hackers used other methods to steal their online banking credentials. 

Significant gap between cybersecurity awareness and personal protection 

Despite the high level of awareness of the potential impacts of security threats reported by the majority of personal domain owners, a surprisingly small number of those surveyed are making a significant investment in solutions designed to protect their personal devices and data from the growing array of potential threats. 

For example, 36 per cent of respondents say they are not currently investing in any form of protection for their personal computers and mobile devices. Among those that are spending money on antivirus, firewall, and other security technology to protect their systems, the level of investment is relatively small. For example, 32 per cent of those surveyed are spending between $10 and $50 annually, 21 per cent are spending between $50 and $100, and only 12 per cent are spending over $100 annually.

Personal spending on cybersecurity

12% of individuals spend >$100 per year on cybersecurity, 21% spend $50 -$100 per year, 32% spend up to $50 per year, 36% spend nothing

For those who have invested in security software for their home devices, the top three types of software being used by those surveyed are firewalls (78 per cent), antivirus protection (73 per cent), and spam blockers (56 per cent). Other types of security software solutions used by those surveyed includes web content filtering (41 per cent) and password managers (42 per cent).

Types of security used for personal protection

78% Firewall, 73% anti-virus, 56% spam blockers, 42% web filtering, 41% password managers, 15% other, 4% don't know.