#cyberbullying | #cyberbully | More Indians focusing on keeping their digital devices safe: Report

NEW DELHI: Indians have become more cautious about their digital security as they use connected devices with work from home and online learning becoming a new reality, stated a study by McAfee, a global computer security software company. The survey, conducted on more than 1,000 adults between 18 and 75 years of age, revealed that 88% of consumers feel more digitally connected since covid-19 – via devices, online activities, connected homes while 86% of the digitally connected consumers have implemented more protection for their digital devices.

With a rise in the usage of connected devices, cyber criminals too have worked harder to launch covid-19-themed attacks that increased by 240% in Q3 and 114% in Q4 in 2020, with an average of 648 new threats per minute. This has motivated customers to look at digital security seriously.

The ‘2021 Consumer Security Mindset Survey’ stated that as many as 57% consumers agree that digital hygiene or the lack of it can put themselves and their families at risk. Two out of three Indians (68%) check if the network that they are joining is secure before connecting. Furthermore, more than half (53%) feel more vulnerable to risks when someone has visited their home and has connected to their internet. Perceived to be most vulnerable to cyber threats are Wi-Fi networks (57%), someone’s home computer (46%), smart home assistants (26%), smart TV (28%), and gaming systems (29%).

More than half of Indians (58%) indicate having a good understanding of the data they store on their mobile devices. Signalling a shift towards responsible behaviour, 72% utilize a mobile security software solution to protect data on their phone, of which, 46% use preinstalled security software. 58% of Indians believe that the information and data stored on their mobile phone are secure from cyber risks.

Around 81% of Indians state that since 2020, members in their household have started to participate in distance learning via virtual platforms. However, less than half (36%) of these purchased new security/protection technology to protect their family and home when distance learning was introduced into their new life routine.

While children are the biggest users of distance learning, more than half (62%) believe that digital wellness and protection should have a separate curriculum and be taught throughout primary school. Added concerns when it comes to the increased connectedness of children include exposure to scams (53%), sharing personal information (53%), illegal content (55%), cyber-bullying (52%), and misinformation (49%).

“Remote working, online learning, and a surge in the usage of connected devices due to more time being spent indoors have resulted in increased digital dependence among Indians,” said Venkat Krishnapur, vice-president of engineering and managing director, McAfee India. “While our study indicates that more Indians are digitally connected owing to the pandemic, they are also now actively taking steps to keep themselves protected from online threats. The spike in our digital footprints during this time makes it critical for everyone to understand the importance of online security and take measures towards protecting themselves.”

The study said that people should use multi-factor authentication to double-check digital authenticity and add a layer of security to protect personal data and information, connect to safe and known Wi-Fi, not do financial transactions on unknown Wi-Fi network and keep separate devices for personal and business use.

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