What are the key cyber security impact areas?

Shifting internet usage habits, an over reliance on mobile devices and a blasé attitude towards device security have been highlighted as key cyber security impact areas in Kaspersky Lab’s latest Kaspersky Cybersecurity Index.

In the first half of 2017, the Index revealed that users are increasingly going mobile, that elderly users face an increasing level of online hazards, and that there has been a decrease in the number of affected users protected by security solutions.

>See also: Is your business too complacent about cyber security?

The research found that modern users increasingly seldom use computers for their online activities, but prefer instead to use mobile devices. Taking email as an example, 78% of users access their email account from computers, compared to 87% in the previous six months – 67% do so from their mobile devices, which has risen from 59% in the second half of 2016.

The proportion of users using their mobile devices for online shopping has grown to 50% from 41% in the previous six months, while that of users shopping online from their computers has decreased from 80% to 75%. This trend is observed across most types of online activities monitored in the Index.

In addition, for the first time in several years, the average number of devices per household has shown a slight decrease – largely due to the reduction in number of computers per household. Today, an average household has 6.2 devices connected to the Internet, compared to 6.3 in H2 2016.

>See also: What can the public sector do to bolster its cyber security?

At the same time, the proportion of protected users has also shown a decrease. While in late 2016, only 39% of respondents had not protected all their devices, now there are 41% of users who admit they have no protection at all. This could be related to that fact that users increasingly use mobile devices which they, more often than not, leave unprotected when compared to their computers. This is a dangerous trend: users face risks while using mobile devices too, and the more they use them for online activities, the higher the risk.

Since the start of 2017, Kaspersky Lab’s databases have listed over 20 million malicious objects targeting Android devices. Android users today face ransomware programs that encrypt the user’s data on their phone in return for a ransom; malware aimed at stealing money from mobile banking apps; and phishing web-pages designed to gain illicit access to a user’s accounts, for example, in social networks.

As a result, over the analysed time period, every fourth (27%) respondent reported they had become a victim of cybercrime, on some type of device. Although the average proportion of such affected users has declined over the first 6 months of the year, this decline has only occurred among those respondents who had security solutions installed on their devices.

>See also: Global shortfall of cyber security workers to reach 1.8 million in 5 years

Elderly users (aged 55 or older) found themselves at higher risk in H1 2017. While in H2 2016 only 12% of such users reported that they had faced an online threat, in H1 there were 19%, most of whom reported that they had encountered some type of malware.

“Irrespective of people’s age and occupation, the focus of their digital lives is increasingly shifting onto mobile devices – people trust them with their secrets, files, confidential information, money and many other things. However, cybercriminals are also shifting their tactics and are increasingly attacking mobile platforms. It is therefore imperative that modern smartphones and tablets be as protected as our computers. In addition to safeguarding our own devices, people need to look out for each other and help friends and family members to practice safe internet usage to reduce the risks they face”, says Andrei Mochola, head of Consumer Business at Kaspersky Lab.


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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...