Cyber Security

Three in four people say they feel unsafe online

20th February 2023
Kiera Sowery

While Internet users spend more time on their devices than they do sleeping*, a new report finds that three out of four Internet users worry about their safety online.

F-Secure’s Living Secure report finds that even as people spend an average of eight hours online, they’re anxious about how much they rely upon their connected devices. Nearly seven out of ten (69%) of those surveyed said they don’t know who to trust online. Sadly, there is little optimism that online safety will improve, with 64% expecting cyber risk to increase in the next 12 months.

“With all the headlines about cyber crime and breaches, along with barrage of scams and threats we all face, the majority of people simply do not feel safe online,” said Timo Laaksonen, F-Secure CEO. “Tragically, our industry has not yet been able to solve this issue.”

Worries abound even though nearly three in four (74%) also use some form of internet security. That could be because two-thirds (66%) say cyber security is too complex. So, it’s not surprising that most users (51%) said that they have no idea if their devices are secure.

“This report reveals what we believe is the crux of the problem,” Laaksonen added. “Online security products and services should be doing much more to offer people a sense of security”

The report finds tasks like communication and money matters are the online activities people value most. The most important digital moments according to the survey respondents are: 1) sending and receiving emails, 2) paying bills, 3) finances/banking 4) sending messages through SMS and apps like WhatsApp, and 5) online shopping.

“Digital services are inseparable from our daily lives,” said Laura Kankaala, F-Secure Threat Intelligence Lead. “The data we create from living profoundly digital lives helps explain why most people say that what’s on their phone is worth more than the phone itself.”

Most respondents believe the data generated by their online activities is highly valuable, with 52% saying the data on their device - which includes files, photos, and contacts - is worth more than 1,000€. Likewise, 57% said they would rather have their car stolen than their identity.

“A brilliantly simple security solution is the first step restoring people’s trust in their devices and their cyber security,” said Laaksonen.

To simplify the many products and services available to consumers, F-Secure has launched a new version of its flagship product. F-Secure Total now offers complete security, privacy, identity protection, password management, banking protection and parental controls combined in one app.

“But simplicity alone is not enough, said Laaksonen. “We also must demystify the process, debunk bad information, and improve cyber security awareness." The Living Secure report shows F-Secure’s commitment to presenting an accurate look at the cyber security challenges facing internet users with a comprehensive look at people’s digital priorities and habits in 2023. Significant findings include:

  • Dating is the online activity that makes users feel most vulnerable with 42% of respondents saying that they felt at risk when looking for love. About a third (35%) said that gambling online made them feel vulnerable, and just over one out of four (27%) said creating social media content heightened their vulnerability.
  • More than one-third of internet users (36%) have more than 1,000 images on their mobile devices. The most common kinds of photos on phones are of holiday travel, followed closely by photos of loved ones.
  • Messaging is the most important digital activity among internet users 18 to 34; this age group is “extremely online,” spending 11 hours connected to the internet.
  • Gaming is significantly more popular among kids than social media, with 75% of parents saying that the children in their homes game versus 64% saying their kids use social media. However, more parents worry about their children’s social media use (70%) than they worry about gaming (64%).

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