For immediate release

TORONTO, October 30, 2018 – Despite a general understanding that cyber security is important, some Canadians still need more help in getting the message that simple steps really can make a difference in protecting personal information from thieves and other bad actors.

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month in Canada and the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA) partnered with the Carrot Rewards app to conduct a series of three quizzes on cyber hygiene to better understand Canadians’ knowledge of cyber security matters and to provide them with the tools and knowledge to better protect themselves.

Lack of understanding of IoT vulnerabilities and the need for unique passwords

The majority of respondents lacked basic knowledge of their vulnerabilities when using devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT). When Carrot Rewards app users were asked how often they change the default or preset password on an IoT device:

  • Only 41% of users answered "often" or "very often" while 28% said sometimes, 25% answered "rarely" and 6% said "never".
  • Lack of understanding of the importance of changing the default password is a concern given the high number of IoT devices Carrot users have. In the same quiz 40% of users said they had 4-6 internet-connected devices, and 38% said they had seven or more.

With the number of IoT devices - which include TVs, gaming systems, smart thermostats and lighting systems - projected to reach more than 20 billion worldwide by 2019, Canadians need to better understand the risks and change their habits.

There was also room for improvement when it comes to understanding the critical need for unique passwords. When we asked Carrot users how important it was to have unique passwords for each banking access point, only 75% of respondents could see the importance with 11% rating it as "somewhat important".

Canadians need to appreciate the importance of unique passwords for their sensitive accounts like their bank accounts and main email account. Passwords could be handed to criminals who could match them to other sites that have used the same login.

"The banking sector is a leader in cyber security and has invested heavily in protecting the financial system, but the realities of a connected world mean that our vulnerability to cyber threats isn’t limited to our systems and technology," says Neil Parmenter, President and CEO of the CBA. "Canadians are gaining a better appreciation of their own role in enhancing cyber security. We’re committed to advancing their understanding by promoting best practices to avoid the risks associated with their connected devices and the steps they can take to mitigate against them."

Good news on password-protection especially among older users

There was better news when it comes to understanding the importance of password-protecting devices.

  • 86% of Carrot quiz respondents said that all of their devices are password protected with older respondents having the greatest understanding of security.
  • 84% of users 18-29 had all their devices protected,
  • 87% for users 30-50, and
  • 90% for users 50+

Not installing a password or passcode on mobile phones, computers and tablets makes it easier for bad actors to snoop or steal personal information that could be used to commit identity theft and identity fraud.

Prepared in the fight against malware

Respondents on the Carrot Rewards app also understood basic cyber hygiene practices and how to battle malware. When asked how they can prevent malicious software from downloading onto their connected devices, most respondents correctly identified known vulnerabilities:

  • 86% of people understood that strong passwords provided a measure of security.
  • 82% indicated that avoiding free WiFi was good practice, and
  • 76% correctly indicated that downloading bank apps only from a reputable source (like the bank’s website or app store) provided protection.

About Carrot Rewards

Carrot Rewards is an AI-driven public engagement platform that leverages behavioural economics and nudge theory to motivate Canadians to make better everyday lifestyle choices. Carrot Rewards harnesses the power of the most popular consumer loyalty programs in Canada to maximize its appeal and user engagement. Carrot users earn their choice of Aeroplan® Miles, SCENE®Points, Petro-Points™, More Rewards® Points, Drop points or RBC Rewards each time they interact with the app. The Carrot platform was created in collaboration with public sector agencies, the three leading Canadian health NGOs and the private sector. With over a million downloads across Canada, Carrot is the most popular and trusted public engagement platform in the country.

About the Canadian Bankers Association

The Canadian Bankers Association is the voice of more than 60 domestic and foreign banks that help drive Canada’s economic growth and prosperity. The CBA advocates for public policies that contribute to a sound, thriving banking system to ensure Canadians can succeed in their financial goals.

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Aaron Boles
416-362-6093 ext 350

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