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Personal data storage practices reveal low risk awareness: Survey

About a third of Indians store sensitive personal information such as passwords of online bank accounts, credit or debit card PIN numbers and Aadhaar, PAN details on their digital devices including computers, according to the findings of a survey, with 11% saving such confidential data on phone contact lists, thus making themselves significantly more vulnerable to cybercriminals.

A total of more than 24,000 respondents from across 393 districts shared information on their personal password storage practices in a survey conducted by LocalCircles to assess consumers’ awareness of cybersecurity risks.

The survey found that while 21% of the respondents said they had memorised all the relevant personal financial information needing to be secured, and 39% said they kept it in a paper format, 7% said they did not have an opinion on the issue. The remaining 33% of respondents said they stored their credentials digitally, especially on mobile phones, computers and in e-mails.

The 11% who said they saved such information on their mobile phone’s contact list are particularly more vulnerable, according to the survey platform.

“This is a very unsafe way to store such credentials because most online apps these days ask for permission to access one’s contact and text messages,” LocalCircles said in a statement. “Though some apps have high levels of security and are trustworthy,the same can’t be said for the majority of other apps that are available on app stores. India’s cybersecurity researchers recently identified 167 counterfeit apps used by hackers to steal money from people,” it added.

The survey also found that 29% of the respondents said they share their ATM or debit card pin details with close family members, with 4% sharing the information with their domestic and office staff.

The majority, 65%, of respondents said no one other than themselves had access to their ATM or debit card details.

“There is an urgent need for RBI and banks to make concerted efforts in the direction of digital financial literacy,” LocalCircles said. “Citizens on the LocalCircles platform also suggested that from time to time the Government via the Finance Ministry, Consumer Affairs Ministry and MEITY, along with RBI, should organise awareness programmes on how to secure personal data and the dos and don’ts,” it added.


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Printable version | Oct 20, 2021 4:28:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/business/personal-data-storage-practices-reveal-low-risk-awareness-survey/article36316128.ece

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