Canada’s Identity Theft Worries Mount with AI Progression, Okta Survey Finds

With low confidence in detecting AI-driven identity theft attempts, Okta research underscores the need for increased AI education and better security measures for businesses and individuals.

TORONTO, March 26, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Nearly three quarters (almost 75 per cent) of Canadians fear their identity will be stolen or misused due to the advancements in AI, according to new research* from Okta, Inc. (NASDAQ: OKTA), the leading independent Identity provider.

What’s even more concerning, less than a quarter (roughly 20 per cent) of Canadians are confident in their ability to recognize AI-generated attempts to compromise their personal information. This lack of confidence comes at a time when generative AI is increasingly used to manipulate photos and videos, often featuring notable figures, yet it’s the risk of personal identity theft that is poised to emerge as the foremost concern.

“As Canadians grapple with a surge of phone and email scams, with perpetrators often posing as banks or credit card companies, the rise of generative AI adds another layer of complexity,” said Dan Kagan, SVP and Country Manager at Okta Canada. “With AI, cybercriminals create convincing deepfakes, clone voices, and automate personalized texts - so distinguishing between genuine and synthetic content is increasingly challenging. Addressing this requires a concerted effort from the private sector and government to provide robust education. Unfortunately, many Canadians are currently underserved in this regard.”

Identity theft concerns grip Canada as AI education lags behind
Against the backdrop of escalating identity theft incidents, the survey found more than one-third of Canadians (almost 35 per cent) have either experienced identity theft or know someone who has, and more than fifty per cent are concerned about their identity being stolen in the future. Despite growing concerns over identity theft, less than a quarter of Canadians are educating themselves about are educating themselves about AI-driven threats to their personal information (around 25 per cent).

Employees less concerned about protecting their work credentials, and employers must act
When it comes to targeted identity threats, Canadians were more concerned about their personal accounts being compromised than their work credentials. In fact, over 30 per cent of Canadians see their personal banking accounts as the prime target for generative AI-driven attacks, and more than 30 per cent point to social media accounts as the next concern. This starkly contrasts the roughly 5 per cent who are most concerned about AI threats on their work credentials and email.

This discrepancy highlights a concerning gap in Canadians’ perception of cybersecurity risks, particularly in their professional lives. Neglecting the security of work credentials and email accounts, which are often gateways to sensitive data, could leave individuals and organizations vulnerable to sophisticated cyberattacks. 

Compounding this challenge is the widespread practice of reusing passwords across personal and work accounts. This practice heightens the risk of identity theft, as a compromise in one set of credentials could potentially grant access to personal and work-related information, magnifying the potential consequences of a security breach.

While MFA is a start, going passwordless is key
The survey found that the majority of Canadians see value in taking precautions to protect themselves. Over 70 per cent of Canadians rank being cautious about sharing their personal information as the primary step they take against digital threats, with over 60 per cent using multi-factor authentication (MFA). 

While MFA is a mainstay for combating identity-based attacks, its effectiveness is often limited to the point of login. Consumers and organizations alike need to expand their security measures as AI-based attacks become more sophisticated. 
Leveraging passwordless technology is a critical piece to protecting identities from AI attacks. Passwordless flows are inherently phishing resistant, as there are no passwords for bad actors to intercept. Removing passwords from the authentication process is not only more secure, but also saves users time, reduces frustration, and lowers login failure rates.

“Canadians require access to robust identity tools, comprehensive education on recognizing and responding to cyber threats, and proactive measures to safeguard their personal information,” emphasized Kagan. “By adopting passwordless authentication, organizations can effectively manage a range of security risks while enhancing the customer experience, ultimately safeguarding the personal information of Canadians.”


About Okta
Okta is the World’s Identity Company. As the leading independent Identity partner, we free everyone to safely use any technology—anywhere, on any device or app. The most trusted brands trust Okta to enable secure access, authentication, and automation. With flexibility and neutrality at the core of our Okta Workforce Identity and Customer Identity Clouds, business leaders and developers can focus on innovation and accelerate digital transformation thanks to customizable solutions and more than 7,000 pre-built integrations. We’re building a world where Identity belongs to you. Learn more at

About the survey
*The survey was conducted by Okta among members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted between December 19 and 21, 2023. There were 1,500 Canadians surveyed online across Canada. 


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