March 17, 2017: Surprisingly enough, consumers are more fearful of being scammed online than they are of being robbed in real life, even as they remain blissfully unaware of the types of con artists that lurk on the Internet.
The revelations come from a survey conducted by UK-based security company, Sophos that asked 1,250 Internet users in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland about their awareness of phishing, ransomware, malware, spyware, hacks and other prevalent cyber threats. Intriguingly, the results revealed that people are more worried about cybercrime than physical world crime.
According to studies, India sees 16.9 percent of the world’s ransomware attacks, among countries with the highest percentage of exposure to malware. That threat of cybercrime is likely to grow further, alongside the proliferation of e-commerce and the increasing mass usage of electronic transactions.
Yet, despite the supposed fears of being scammed online, a disturbingly large number of the people surveyed didn’t know what kind of warning signs to look out for. A staggering 47 percent of those polled said they weren’t familiar with phishing or even considered it a real threat, despite it being the most common method to gain access to personal data. Similarly, 31 percent of the group said they had no idea what ransomware was. However, more than half of the group did know about spyware, one of the most talked about online threats.
“People know that they should lock-up their physical belongings to keep them safe but when it comes to online security most of them are unaware of cyber threats and are not prepared for it,” Sharma said.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however, there are a few simple precautions you can take to defend yourself against various types of malware:
– Backup your data and use a virus scanner for your mobiles, PCs and Macs.
– If you are not absolutely sure you know who sent an email and why, refrain from immediately opening it until you can get confirmation.
– When browsing online, always ensure there is a green padlock in the left corner of the address bar. This indicates your connection is secure.
– Log out of your email and social media whenever you’re done, especially on a shared computer.
Make these simple steps a regular habit, and you’re already protecting yourself from a wide variety of malicious attacks.