Almost everything done by Canadians involves technology in one way or another. Canadians spend an average of 43.5 hours per month on the internet, the highest in the world, thanks to increased internet penetration. However, the internet-enhanced quality of life comes at a cost – it creates vulnerabilities for cyber-attacks.
Expanding internet connectivity in Canada enabled 96.5% of the population to access the internet in 2022. Online shopping is the new norm as customers embrace the ease and convenience offered by ordering goods over the internet and receiving them at their doorstep. Canadian online retail sales will hit $79.8 billion in 2022 and reach $104 billion by 2025.
With trade and technology increasingly intertwined, global businesses face cybersecurity challenges that pose significant risks. Companies have adopted emerging technologies to address these threats and personalize customer connections. Canadian online businesses are no exception.
Much of 2020 and 2021 saw many businesses close, scale down, or shift online due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses reported that about 25% of its members experienced cyberattacks between March 2020 and October 2021. Entities that had shifted their operations to e-commerce were the most affected by the attacks.
The Global CEO outlook survey by KPMG noted that most Canadian companies were ill-prepared to deal with cyberattacks. Even the ones who said they were adequately prepared fell 17% points from the previous year.
Emerging cyber security threats include ransomware attacks, evolving Internet of Things (IoT), 5G, and cloud service vulnerabilities. These threats have stimulated the development of new technologies to protect businesses.
Common Cyber Attacks on Online Businesses
Cyberattacks target computer networks and systems that steal, alter, or disable data and information. Online trading involves significant data movement, and with data being the “new gold,” cyber criminals are now becoming innovative in accessing this data.
The effects of a data breach in e-commerce can be catastrophic, leading to massive loss of money and the collapse of businesses. Protecting the security of online businesses, their customers, and the internet infrastructure is now a priority.
Common types of cyberattacks on online businesses include:
- Malware Attacks involve downloading malicious software such as viruses, spyware, and ransomware on the company’s computer systems. A fraudulent link is sent to the system that downloads and installs the malicious file on the computer and is used by criminals to access the company’s data.
- Spear Phishing Scams: Users receive seemingly trustworthy emails inviting them to click links that install malware on the system. Clicking on some websites can also lead to phishing attacks.
- Denial of Service: The attackers shut down business servers, network systems, and websites, stalling all operations.
- SQL Injections: This attack happens when unauthorized persons access the company network database via a deceptive website programming code.
These attacks wreak havoc on e-commerce systems enabling criminals to access crucial company and customer data.
Using New Technologies to Enhance CyberSecurity
In response to the above threats, Canadian online businesses are adopting the latest cybersecurity solutions in their systems. The report by the Economist Intelligence Unit shows that Canadian companies invest in cyber security systems more frequently at 67% than their global peers at 55%.
What is Cyber Security?
Cyber security measures protect computers, servers, electronic systems, mobile devices, data, and networks from malicious attacks.
The new cyber security technologies adopted by these companies include:
Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning
Artificial Intelligence (AI) is becoming a common feature in cybersecurity operations. The application of AI in cyber security works the same way as two-factor authentication, which uses two or three parameters to confirm the user’s identity.
Deep learning helps to analyze transactions, logs, and real-time communications and detect threats and suspicious activities. Integration of AI and Deep Learning technologies in online businesses adds additional layers of security to the transactions enhancing data security.
Most cyberattacks target networks hence the vulnerability of e-commerce networks to these threats. Network security solutions identify and block these attacks before they happen. The applications include Data Loss Prevention, Identify Access Management, Network Access Control, and Next-Generation Firewall.
These applications detect, identify, disable and block security threats ensuring the networks and websites are secure.
Cyber security experts use behavioral analytics to analyze and determine patterns in systems and network activities, enabling them to detect real-time and potential cyber threats. Online businesses use behavioral analytics to detect changes in their customer’s behavior, which could indicate a cyberattack.
This cyber security model assumes that a computer network is already compromised. Business owners must therefore enhance their internal and external network securities to protect the company’s and client’s data.
The model involves identifying the company’s critical data, mapping its flow, physical and logical segmentation, and control and policy enforcement via constant monitoring and automation.
Online businesses are increasingly adopting cloud computing, raising the need for cloud security measures. Adding third-party cloud security solutions to the ones provided by cloud computing providers is essential to enhance the security of the company’s data.
Online Casinos lead the way
Whilst there are many online companies in Canada who are looking to take advantage of cyber security measures, newly founded online casinos have become one of the quickest to adapt and change to the world we live in. They have managed to implement so many different systems to help not just protect their own business, but also that of their customers.
SSL encryption on their websites for example allow players to ensure that they can play safe in the knowledge that their data is protected. This means they can safely deposit and withdraw funds and update their personal information without fear that it will be stolen. Allowing them to play any table games or slots they want and get full enjoyment out of them by taking away the worries that come with playing on an unsecure site.
On top of that, many casinos also use software to try and identify money laundering operations in order to combat cyber crime that involves criminals trying to wash money online. Plus there are many more systems in place as well, some of which that people will not even be aware of to prevent potential threats from finding ways around them.
Getting it 100% right on cyber security is difficult, especially for small online enterprises. However, such businesses can benefit from tools and resources provided by The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security to enhance their online safety.
Online businesses should adopt the above technologies and others like mobile, End-point, IoT, and Application securities to strengthen their networks. The growing online business in Canada means cybersecurity risks will also increase hence the need to take precautionary measures.