Belgians found to be aware of cyber risks, but careless about them

Belgians found to be aware of cyber risks, but careless about them
© Belga

Belgians are aware of cyber risks but are careless of them, it emerged from the second edition of Axa Partners' Cyberbarometer.

In comparison to last year, more surfers are indicating that they reuse their passwords or have access to another person's Facebook account.

In 2018, 73% of Belgians did not approve of a large part of their personal information being easily available on the Internet. This percentage decreased by 2% (71%) this year.

"In other words, we are not only increasingly casual about our personal data, but we also assign less importance to our private lives - except when it comes to unwanted photos," the barometer reported. Nearly a quarter of Belgians (23%) say a photo of them has already been published without their consent by someone they knew. The problem is, their number has doubled in comparison to last year (11%).

On Facebook, it appeared that more than one Belgian user in ten (12%) has a completely public profile. 64% of users have modified theirs so that only their friends can view it. And "for 19% of us, our profiles are only accessible to our friends and friends of friends," Axa Partners observed.

Furthermore, three out of ten (30%) of Belgian Facebook users say they can connect to someone else's Facebook account. In most cases, this is a marriage partner's (17%), a child's (12%) or one belonging to another family member(s) (10%).

The 2019 Cyberbarometer also shows that in comparison to last year, fewer Belgians make up a completely new password for their accounts that was not inspired by earlier efforts: "Half of Belgians (50%) regularly use the same password for different applications and web sites. 23% have only one password for every web site and application to which they are subscribed."

This year, Axa Partners also became interested in the way in which Belgians create their passwords. And it is evident that too many Belgians use elements extracted from their personal information, words easy to remember (21%) or phrases (8%) to do so (49%). Only 1 in 5 (22%) of Belgians choose figures and letters randomly and hardly 3% use an on-line tool for such random password creation.

There is one positive point: an increasing number of Belgians regularly renew their passwords whereas, in 2018, 29% had not changed them. In 2019, the percentage fell to 26%. Passwords should preferably be changed yearly when linked to private accounts, Hanne Vandecapelle, Value Proposition Manager Cyber Axa Partners, suggested.

The Brussels Times

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