September 17, 2015 by Canadian Underwriter
A third of respondents to a global Kaspersky Lab survey who suffered a malware infection also experienced a financial loss, averaging US$160.
“Victims spent money on professional repairs, software to eliminate the effects of an infection, and some even had to buy a replacement device. When financial losses were incurred, the average cost of an attack amounted to $160,” notes Kaspersky Lab, which released Consumer Security Risks Survey – From Scared to Aware: Digital Lives in 2015 earlier this week.
Conducted by Kaspersky Lab with B2B International, the online survey involved 12,355 people 16 and older, equally split between men and women, from 26 countries. Data was weighted to be globally representative and consistent.
“The growing use of mobile and portable Internet-enabled devices, as well as the spread of next-generation networks, makes it ever easier for consumers to go online anytime and anywhere; and they are embracing the opportunity to do so,” the report states. “Consumers’ primary online activities include emailing, online shopping, reading the news, using social media, banking and working.”
The survey shows 45% of those polled encountered at least one malware incident during the last year and 44% say they know of others who have been affected. Specifically, in 35% of cases of those reporting a malware incident, the aftermath was slower computer performance, changes to a browser or the operating system settings without the user’s permission in 17% of cases, data locking in 11% of cases, deleted personal data in 10% of cases, fraudulent social media posts in 9% of cases and webcam hacking in 6% of cases.
When looking at the cause of the malware encounter and subsequent infection, the respondents report the following:
The report further notes that 25% of those surveyed has experienced account hacking and 32% say they know of other others who have been affected. In addition, 48% of respondents have experienced a financial threat, and 42% know of friends, colleagues or family members who have been affected. [Click on image below to enlarge]
“The costs and unpleasant effects of a malware infection can be avoided with a little prudence,” Elena Kharchenko, Kaspersky Lab’s head of consumer product management, says in the company statement. Kharchenko recommends not inserting unverified USB sticks in a device, using only official app stores, keeping the operating system and applications up to date and scanning files with a security solution before opening them. “The ability to foresee potential problems and take precautions is the key to staying safe,” she emphasizes.
“Other actions to protect devices and activity on devices include enforcing strong privacy settings on social media accounts and browsers (39%); turning off location-tracking (34%) and storing sensitive data on a device that is not Internet-connected (28%),” the report adds.
“The study found that concerns about the security of some online communication channels do not prevent consumers from using them,” it states. “For example, a quarter uses messaging apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook messenger, even though 50% regards them as insecure.”
In addition, the report points out that the boundaries between work and personal device use are blurring. As a result, there are a number of potential security risks associated with this.
In all, 13% of respondents use a personal laptop for work, and 6% use a work-provided one for personal activiities, the report states. Similarly, 7% use their own Android smartphone and 4% their own iPhone for work. [Click image below to enlarge]
“Consumers who use their connected devices for work use them more for everything. This does not just increase their own exposure to risk, but often that of their employer, too,” the report cautions. For example, 41% of respondents with smartphones that are used for or provided by work use their device for online shopping, and 27% use the device for online payments.
Other main survey findings include the following:
15% of data lost was never recovered.