Using an array of connected ICT devices multiplies the risks of data security breaches, but owners frequently do not take adequate precautions.
2012 was a dismal year in terms of the increase in and range of cyber-attacks, and 2013 did not show much improvement, despite the growing challenges and the need for data protection for both individual consumers and companies. Indications are that the rapid progress in IT tools is preventing both IT experts and general users from implementing appropriate security procedures and that the procedures which are put in place very quickly become obsolete. Both professionally and privately people are increasingly using multiple information and communication devices, which means that the risks incurred can be even harder to spot. Now Moscow-based multi-national computer security company, Kaspersky Lab, in partnership with research agency B2B International, has published the results of a survey among 8,605 respondents worldwide, canvassing the customer’s point of view of security in a digital world where the trend is towards widespread use of multiple connected devices.
Lack of awareness of specific digital issues
The multiple digital devices we use are virtually becoming the nerve centre of our lives. The Kaspersky-B2B International survey results show that close to 98% of respondents use a digital device – smartphone, computer or tablet – to carry out financial transactions and 74% regularly use e-wallets and e-payment systems. However, this increase in the use of mobile payments has not been accompanied by a change in users’ security habits. Some 34% of those surveyed stated for example that they took no security measures when using public WiFi networks, even though 60% are not certain that the websites they use provide adequate protection for their passwords and personal data. This widespread lack of security reflexes is also evident when it comes to the software versions people use. Fully 27% of users do not regularly update software on their devices, and so leave themselves open to recurring cyber-attacks.
Real losses incurred
These structural weaknesses in people’s IT security practices do not simply mean that their devices have a shorter lifetime. These shortcomings often actually lead to real financial losses. The survey indicates that although users to some extent understand the risks of cyber-attacks, they often seriously underestimate the consequences. Some 45% of the respondents polled by Kaspersky-B2B International are “confident that their bank will return any money that is stolen from them online,” states the report. However, close to a third of those surveyed had recently faced a malware attack, with the average cost of such an attack estimated at $74 per person. Moreover, in spite of the general optimism, it turns out that 41% of financial attack victims were in fact unable to obtain full reimbursement.