Cyber hacks, scams, frauds and your private records in the hands of any online criminal who has the know-how — that unfortunately is the situation we could find ourselves in.

That’s why TD is making major investments in tools and especially experienced personnel, to meet the evolving threats, says Jeff Henderson, Executive Vice President and Chief Information Officer.

TD has taken serious measures to bulk up its security against cyber threats. It has recently become a founding corporate member, and the first Canadian bank, to join the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity located at the University of New Brunswick. The institute will be a cyber-technology hub and will help support the bank’s goal in developing new cyber-risk management technologies. As well, TD recently opened a Cybersecurity Office in Tel Aviv, Israel, to have access to the world’s leading centre in cybersecurity talent. Henderson says that there is a shortage of people with the cutting-edge skills and TD has taken proactive steps to make sure it has the best people in place.

“The rationale for getting involved in these centres is, first and foremost, to have access to the talent. There is a war for talent going on and our success is largely based on our ability to attract talent.” Henderson says.


Look out for the
”Relative in Trouble” Scam

  • What it is: An email or telephone call is sent, claiming a relative is hurt or in jail and badly needs money. The caller may claim to be a government official, a police officer or even a relative using a “bad line.”
  • How to be smart: These scams play on the emotional shock of hearing a relative is in trouble. Naming a relative by name and saying they are seriously hurt is enough to distract you from asking sensible questions about the situation, like why does someone in the hospital need money?

The idea is to stay on the forefront of the tools and techniques like advanced authentication, next generation biometrics, encryption and anomaly detection, to equip TD with the ‘latest and greatest’ technology to help keep the bank’s systems and customer data safe.

Glenn Foster, TD’s Chief Information Security Officer, says with many sophisticated and evolving criminal techniques, the bank must be able to detect whether an electronic transaction is from a client or an insidious “bot.” He says the bank aggressively tests its defenses by trying to break into its own systems to evaluate ever-evolving threats.

But he says that bank customers have a role to play in keeping their privacy and banking information safe. Foster says it’s important that clients use strong passwords and educate themselves on the best way to protect their privacy and avoid online scams.

Outsmarting the Baddies

Headlines of international hacking and misuse of data by social media platforms have dominated the news this year, resulting in serious and prolonged government investigation. But these monumental rackets don’t threaten me and my bank account, does it? Think again, says Robert Siciliano, a Boston-based security analyst with Hotspot Shield, who says the threat is as real and dangerous as a robber in your home.


Look out for the
“The Romantic Scam”

  • What it is: The victim is often elderly who finds a “mate” through online dating. If your date professes love but needs $5,000 suddenly for some problem, it’s usually a scam.
  • How to be smart: Everyone, but especially seniors, should have a backup and confidante they can trust who can make a dispassionate judgment over what’s going on or who they’re dating.

“What movie star do you look like?” Siciliano explains that websites posting content that ask innocent questions, like that one for example, can use that data in conjunction with hacked databases to put together enough personal material to defraud someone. With so much stolen data and unsafe passwords in existence, it’s an open invitation for sophisticated fraudsters.

He says everyone knows they should have strong passwords, but basic password protection is still a large problem; many still make easy-to-unlock passwords or reuse the same passwords over and over. Siciliano personally prefers a password manager, which protects and remembers numerous passwords for different accounts. Siciliano also says that people should also beware of phishing scams in emails that get you to click a link or reveal personal information. And physical cheques and money orders may ring of “old-school” nostalgia, Siciliano says avoid using them since they are easy to duplicate.

And for those who like to post lots of personal photos for friends and family on social media, be careful. He says something as harmless as posting photos while on vacation can show cyber-crooks your home is empty.


Look out for the
“You Owe Taxes” Scam

  • What it is: A high-pressure email or message that says you (or a recently-deceased relative) owes the CRA money. They say they will send someone to collect right away.
  • How to be smart: The CRA does not use high-pressure tactics and they don’t collect cash.1

cyber-scam

Here are some security tips Siciliano says everyone should include in their life:

1. Keep Your Software Updated: New cyber threats are constantly coming! — If your device’s software is not updated regularly, you may be vulnerable.

2. Use VPN or Encryption Software: Use security software because someone you don’t know may be listening in on WiFi.

3. Online Shopping May Bring Bad Bargains: Don’t store credit card information with any retailer and don’t shop at retailers you are unfamiliar with or who have bad reviews.

4. Social Media is a Minefield: We now know entities, big or small, legitimate or dubious, are collecting our data. Beware of anything that requires you to give away any personal information, even if it appears to be as innocent as an online quiz asking for your favourite colour — since that could well be the type of questions online accounts use in security questions to verify who you are. Personal information, no matter how trivial, can be used in scams.

5. Back Up Your Data: Have two or more redundant backups for your computer and devices.

6. New Devices Bring New Threats: The Internet of Things (IOT) means devices like smart thermostats or light controls are now connected to your computer. They also need security attention as they are may be an insidious way for hackers to get to you.

7. Be a Savvy Senior!: Seniors may be especially vulnerable and should be vigilant: Fraudsters target seniors because they may be more easily duped if they’re not aware of the latest online scams out there. Make sure seniors in your life like your grandparents are up of the latest or most pervasive telephone and email scams.

DEFINITIONS

Phishing
Online scam that fraudulently solicits information in the form of a legitimate request, like an email from the bank or government.

Bot
Computer program that searches and collects online data. Can be used legally and illegally.

Hacking
To avoid security and break into a device or system.

Virus
Illegal software used to “infect” a device or computer in order to cause it to malfunction.

Ransomware
Illegal software that locks your computer or device until you pay a ransom.

— Don Sutton, MoneyTalk Life