Changing Behaviours Move Cybercrime Goalposts: Increased Mobile Device Usage and Risks to Older Users, Among Key Findings of Kaspersky Lab Index for H1 2017

Shifting Internet usage habits, an overreliance on mobile devices and a blasé attitude towards device security have been highlighted as key cybersecurity impact areas in Kaspersky Lab’s latest Kaspersky Cybersecurity Index – an aggregate of indicators designed to reflect the changes in Internet users’ behaviours and the risks they face. 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.

The Kaspersky Cybersecurity Index is based on the results of online surveys of Internet users around the world, conducted twice a year by Kaspersky Lab. In H1 2017, the survey was taken by 21,081 users from 32 countries, aged 16 or older.

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 per cent of users access their email account from computers, compared to 87 per cent in the previous six months. 67 per cent do so from their mobile devices which has risen from 59 per cent in the second half of 2016. The proportion of users using their mobile devices for online shopping has grown to 50 per cent from 41 per cent in the previous six months, while that of users shopping online from their computers has decreased from 80 per cent to 75 per cent. 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.

At the same time, the proportion of protected users has also shown a decrease. While in late 2016, only 39 per cent of respondents had not protected all their devices, now there are 41 per cent 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 per cent) 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.

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

To address these threats and help people protect their mobile devices and those of their loved ones from cybercrime, Kaspersky Lab has developed Kaspersky Internet Security for Android. It protects smartphones and tablets from dangerous apps and websites; ensures user privacy thanks to call and text filtering; and an anti-theft feature guards the safety of user data when a device is lost or stolen.

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