Keeping Canada’s growing digital economy cyber safe  

Kevin Peesker, Corporate Vice-President, Microsoft Canada 

Microsoft’s most recent Digital Defense Report finds that threat actors have significantly increased the sophistication of their methods since the onset of the pandemic, making them harder to spot as they threaten even the most well-protected targets. Microsoft scans 24 trillion signals per day and from July 2020 through June 2021, the company blocked over 32 billion malicious and suspicious mails and 31 billion identity threats.  

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to generate an unprecedented level of digital activity with more Canadian citizens and organizations going online to work, learn, shop and stay connected with family and friends. In an increasingly vulnerable climate – we’re seeing attackers use new reconnaissance techniques that target both citizens and businesses. The digital transformation we saw across all sectors of the economy spurred innovation across business and government. But growing the digital economy provided more opportunities for cyber criminals to take advantage of vulnerabilities; it’s important that we do everything possible to protect against cyberthreats and attacks. The number of potential targets for threat actors has never been higher. We must now be more vigilant than ever when it comes to protecting ourselves, our devices and our networks. 

All organizations must invest in people and technology to help stop attacks. At the very minimum, it is critical that organizations focus on the basics, including regular security updates, comprehensive backup policies and enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA).  Our data shows that the small step of enabling MFA can help reduce the probability of 99.9% of password-based attacks would have prevented many successful threat attacks. Below are some resources to help organizations learn more about protecting themselves today:   

  • Increasing rigour around passwords on personal accounts with passwordless and MFA; join this passwordless event with CVP Security, Compliance and Identity, Vasu Jakkal on Oct 13 to learn more,  
  • Join a virtual event on Oct 20 at 1 p.m. EST with the US Embassy, National Cyber Security Alliance, Terranova Security and Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security (CISA) about security culture and transforming employees into cyber heroes,  
  • Learn more about arming your organization with the knowledge they need to prevent phishing attacks, safeguarding remote devices and protecting against identity theft here 

Given these types of threats are only projected to increase in the coming years, it is important that we take steps to establish new rules of the road for cyberspace. Organizations and consumers alike must also be conscious of their cyber hygiene by installing reputable antivirus programs, updating software regularly, setting strong, unique passwords in combination with MFA and having up-to-date hardware. 

However, security is not a one-stop shop. It is not just a matter of software or hardware – it’s a combination of identity, protection, and defense to keep our networks, data and devices safe from attacks of all magnitudes. To learn more about the current cyber threat landscape and how to stay protected, please visit  

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