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Bitdefender Releases 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report


April 03, 2024

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Bitdefender Releases 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report

Bitdefender commissioned Censuswide, a third-party survey company, to gauge consumers’ mindset on cybersecurity across three continents. 7,335 respondents aged 16 to 55+ from the US, UK, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Australia shared their experiences, fears and concerns about the current digital landscape and cybercrime – from phishing, data exposure and malware, to SMS scams, artificial intelligence, and children’s safety online.

The similarities and differentiations on consumer behaviors and perspectives across various regions were interesting and at times surprising.

Managing up to ten accounts each, a quarter of netizens say they suffered at least one security incident in the last 12 months. Almost half have faced a scam attempt via text, yet heavily rely on their phone to make sensitive transactions. Consumer behavior doesn’t always match stated fears and concerns. For example, it was found that although many fear cybercriminals are after their credit card or personal information, they do little to protect it.

The survey and analysis took place from December 2023 through January 2024. Here are some key findings:

·      Netizens today have on average between 3 and 5 online accounts (35%), though a sizeable proportion (31%) have 6 or more. However, respondents likely forgot to include accounts they created on a whim – to enjoy a quick service or for a one-off purchase. It’s important for e-citizens to consider this in a time when data breaches have become a daily occurrence – especially if they give in to the convenience of using a single password for multiple accounts.

·      Nearly a quarter of respondents (24.3%) said they suffered at least one security event over the last 12 months. Australians reported the most run-ins with cybercrime, at 37.6%, or 12% above the overall average, followed by Spain (27.9%), US (26.7%), Germany (26.3%), France (19.6%), UK (17.2%), and Italy (16.1%). Australia suffered a rash of data breaches in 2023, which helps explain why it leads the pack in consumer-reported incidents.

·      SMS scams (45.4%) are the most common security event, followed closely by fraud attempts (44.4%), and phishing emails (42.1%). Data exposure accounted for 27.5% of the reported incidents, followed by malware infection at 16.4% and doxxing at 9.2%.

·      Respondents who say they can recognize a scam were more likely to have experienced a security incident (29%), than those who didn’t always (24%) or never (16%) recognized scams. This might indicate that those who can’t recognize a scam have experienced one without knowing.

·      Almost 4 in 5 (78.3%) said they use their smartphone to do banking, access healthcare data, manage investments, trade crypto – in general, to manage important data and conduct sensitive transactions. This even though consumers’ biggest cybersecurity fear is hackers accessing their finances, while at the same time neglecting adequate security practices.

·      Password management remains one of consumers’ weakest points, with 37% of netizens writing down their passwords, 18.7% using the same password for three or more accounts, and 15.8% using the same password for at least two accounts.

·      Before answering what they use a VPN for, 48.3% of respondents straight out said they didn’t use one at all. Of those who do use VPN, 27% say it’s for finding location-based deals or steaming content not available in their region.

·      The vast majority said they were either “concerned” or “very concerned” by the security and privacy implications of AI. Only 8.4% said they weren’t concerned at all. Similarly, around 70% said they are concerned about children’s privacy and security online. A third said they are very concerned.

·      Almost a quarter of netizens (24.2%) believe they are a target for cybercriminals.

Our free report expands on these key findings, as well as others, with a breakdown by region, age, and gender for each topic covered. Whether you’re a journalist, a cybersecurity professional, or a regular netizen, the Bitdefender 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report is a valuable resource for anyone interested in today’s evolving cybersecurity threat landscape.

Download the Bitdefender Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report




Filip has 15 years of experience in technology journalism. In recent years, he has turned his focus to cybersecurity in his role as Information Security Analyst at Bitdefender.

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