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Statistics Canada: Internet Usage Survey Data and Cyber Hurdles

Analysis | Aug 15, 2023

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The digital revolution has touched every corner of the globe, and Canada is no exception. Recent data reveals a nation increasingly connected and reliant on the internet.

As the world rapidly shifts towards digital platforms, Canada stands as a testament to this evolution. From the bustling streets of Toronto to the serene landscapes of Yukon, the digital footprint is unmistakable. Recent data paints a picture of a nation increasingly intertwined with the virtual realm. Younger generations, predictably, lead the charge with near-total internet adoption. However, it's the rising curve of older Canadians coming online that tells a more profound story of digital inclusivity.

Internet Usage in Canada by Age Category (2018-2022)

Canadian internet usage from 2018 2022 by age - Statistics Canada:  Internet Usage Survey Data and Cyber Hurdles

 

  • 15 to 24 years: This age group consistently exhibits the highest internet usage, almost reaching saturation with rates nearing 100%. Their near-universal adoption reflects the digital native nature of this younger generation, who have grown up in an era where the internet is integral to daily life.
  • 25 to 44 yearsNot far behind the youngest cohort, this age bracket also boasts impressively high internet adoption rates. This demographic, which often includes working professionals, students, and young families, relies heavily on the internet for work, entertainment, and social connectivity.
  • 45 to 64 years:  This age group, which spans mid-life professionals and those approaching retirement, has shown stable and substantial internet usage rates. The adoption is slightly lower than the younger demographics but remains significant, indicating the widespread importance of the internet across varied life stages.

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  • 65 years and over:  The percentage of internet usage for this senior group increased from 71.2% in 2018 to 82.6% in 2022, showcasing a noticeable and commendable upward trajectory in internet adoption. This trend embodies the impact of COVID and an increasing interest and need for the internet among older Canadians, whether for staying connected with loved ones, accessing services, or exploring new learning avenues.

Internet Security and Privacy Incidents

However, with this increased connectivity comes a surge in digital vulnerabilities. The data paints a concerning picture:

Internet security and privacy incidents in canada by age group 2022 - Statistics Canada:  Internet Usage Survey Data and Cyber Hurdles

  • The Vulnerable Middle: The age bracket "25 to 44 years" consistently emerges as the most susceptible to cyber incidents. In 2022, a significant 64.1% of individuals within this group reported experiencing a cyber security incident. This could be attributed to this age group's active online footprint – encompassing work, online shopping, social media, and more.
  • Elders Navigating the Cyber Landscape: The senior population, while having a lower overall internet usage rate, has not been spared from cyber threats. Their reported incidents have seen a marked increase from 2018 to 2022. This rise is indicative of the challenges they face as they familiarize themselves with the digital realm.
  • Privacy at Risk: Unsolicited emails and privacy breaches remain prevalent across all age groups, emphasizing the persistent threats to personal data in the digital age.

Emerging Threats and Securing the Future

Several emerging threats are becoming increasingly prominent. Among these, sophisticated phishing attacks are on the rise. These malicious endeavors, often disguised as authentic communications from trusted entities, prey on unsuspecting individuals, leading them to divulge personal or financial information.

Further, the rise of ransomware cannot be understated. Across the nation, businesses, educational institutions, and even local municipalities find themselves at the mercy of cybercriminals who encrypt critical data, demanding hefty ransoms for its release. Such incidents not only disrupt services but also place immense financial strains on the affected entities.

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As we advance towards smarter homes and cities, the proliferation of Internet of Things (IoT) devices introduces new vulnerabilities. These interconnected devices, from home thermostats to citywide surveillance systems, often lack robust security measures, making them potential weak links in the vast digital network. As we revel in the conveniences of an interconnected world, it becomes imperative to address these emerging threats, ensuring that our digital future remains secure and resilient.

Takeaways

Navigating Canada's digital journey brings forth key areas for discussion. The need for digital literacy programs is evident, especially for older Canadians venturing online. With businesses and institutions rapidly digitizing, the resilience of our digital infrastructure becomes critical. Collaboration emerges as a central theme. Policymakers, tech firms, and the public must unite to bolster cybersecurity. As we embrace technology, a balanced approach ensures we reap its benefits while safeguarding against potential threats.


NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Statistics Canada:  Internet Usage Survey Data and Cyber HurdlesThe National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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