The latest results of the Unisys Security Index for Belgium show a modest increase in the level of concern about cyber security over the past six month (up 29 points to 118 points). Upon analysis, however, the findings expose a significant discrepancy between our security worries on the one hand and our online behavior on the other.
While consumers are increasingly concerned about identity theft (86%) and credit card fraud (85%) their online behavior shows a worrying preference for convenience over security, with 40% saying ‘ease of shopping and banking online’ outweighs any privacy concerns.
Is this typically Belgian?
To understand the discrepancy, we must analyze the contributing factors.
On the one hand, the ongoing economic crisis and political instability mean people worry more. Belgians hoped for a rapid return to stability on both levels, but there has been no real economic improvement, on a national or international level, and our political situation is far from rose-colored.
Add to this the pace of modern life! With limited free time, we are seeking more convenient ways to get our private and professional lives under control. As a result, internet-reliance is growing.
But too often, end-users are not taking the actions needed to protect their personal data. While 76% of Belgians say they will not do business online with an organization they don’t trust to safeguard their details, just 35% use ‘hard to guess’ passwords and 44% of social media users don’t set privacy settings to restrict access to their personal data.
We must attempt to accelerate public awareness of each person’s responsibilities and actions needed to safeguard online security. A great deal of this education process must be addressed by government, schools and online consumer-facing companies such as banks, retailers and ISP’s.
Cyber security awareness campaigns and education are the best way to improve our ‘Internet hygiene’.