Only one in three Belgians feel safe on the Internet, it emerged on Tuesday from a national study commissioned by cyber-security specialists SpotIT. Furthermore, the young generation scored less than their seniors when it came to knowing about cybercrime. They also felt less safe on-line than their elders.
Phishing, ransomware, DDoS attacks: Internet threats are numerous and scare 29% of those in the 18-34 age group, out of the 1,048 Belgians questioned in April via an online form. Among the over-65 age group, the figure dropped to 24%.
In addition to impressions about web security, the study examined the protection measures taken by internet users and the knowledge they have concerning cybercrime.
Password managers are not popular with young adults, since just under 22% confirmed they used one. Additionally, only half of the 18-34 age group had downloaded an ad-blocker (anti-spyware software which enables the user to block online advertisements) and less than 70% had installed anti-virus software, the study indicated.
Furthermore, seven out of ten young Belgians said they were incapable of detecting whether a Wifi network was secure or not. 33% of them, moreover, used free, unsecured wireless networks when out of the house.
“These results are alarming,” Steven Vynckier, director of SpotIT, stated. To address the shift to digital, “cyber-security is one of the most pressing challenges that must be tackled by the authorities, schools, employers, and at an individual level,” he emphasised. According to the inquiry ordered by SpotIT, 62% of Belgians have received phishing e-mails, in which crooks pass themselves off as a bank or telecom operative, in order to steal private information. In 2018, viruses and malicious software had also targeted 18% of Belgians questioned.
“Developing a digital plan of action” in teaching “is a long-term undertaking that demands higher subsidies and modernisation of learning objectives,” Jerome Payet, deputy director of the Institut Saint-Dominique in Schaerbeek, commented.