Security concerns affect EU citizens’ online activities

Security concerns affect user behavior on the internet according to study

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44% of EU citizens limited their private internet activities due to security concerns in 2019

In 2019, 44% of EU citizens aged between 16 to 74 claimed to have limited their private internet activities in the last 12 months due to security concerns, according to data released today by Eurostat, the statistical service of the EU.

The activity which people mostly avoided because of security concerns was providing personal information to social or professional networking services (25% of the population).

Security concerns limited or prevented 19% of people from using public WiFi and 17% from downloading software, apps, music, video files, games or other files, while 16% reported having avoided online shopping and 13% internet banking.

“Security concerns limited or prevented 19% of people from using public WiFi”

Communication with public services or administrations (8%) was less affected by security concerns.

1% of the EU population (2% of those who used the internet in the last 12 months) experienced financial loss resulting from identity theft, fraudulent messages or redirection to fake websites.

Furthermore, in 2019, 34% of EU citizens reported having experienced security-related problems by using the internet for private purposes in the last 12 months.

26% of the EU population reported that they received fraudulent messages, trying to obtain information like usernames and passwords to log on to e-mail accounts or websites used for e-banking (phishing), while 13% were redirected to fake websites asking for personal information (pharming).

“26% of the EU population reported that they received fraudulent messages, trying to obtain information like usernames and passwords.”

3% of people suffered from fraudulent credit or debit card use, 3% from loss of documents, pictures or other data due to a virus or other computer infection, such as a worm or Trojan horse, and 2% encountered that their social network or e-mail account was hacked and content being posted or sent without the internet user’s knowledge.

Online identity theft and misuse of personal information available on the internet resulting in e.g. discrimination, harassment or bullying, were reported by 1% of the population each.

“3% of people suffered from fraudulent credit or debit card use, 3% from loss of documents, pictures or other data.”

How did users in Cyprus behave?

In Cyprus, internet activities which were limited or avoided due to security concerns in the last 12 months (as % of individuals aged 16-74, in 2019) included:

– Ordering or buying goods or services, 17%
– Internet banking, 11%
– Providing personal information to social or professional networking services, 28%
– Communicating with public services or administrations, 2%
– Downloading software, apps, music, video files, games or other data files 10% and
– Using the Internet via public WiFi 4%.

Furthermore, Security-related problems experienced through private internet use in the last 12 months in Cyprus (as % of individuals aged 16-74, 2019) included:

– Fraudulent credit or debit card use, 1%
– Online identity theft 1%
– Phishing, 19%
– Pharming, 8%
– Misuse of personal information available on the internet, 0%
– Social network or e-mail account being hacked, 1% and
– Loss of data due to computer infection, 0%

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