On January 27, McAfee Corp revealed findings from its ‘2021 Consumer Security Mindset Report*’ which reveals that while the shift to a ‘digital-first life’ was brought on by the global pandemic, Indian consumers have shown an increased online footprint, with activities like online banking (68%), financial planning (55%), and personal shopping (63%) at the top of the list. With the increase in activities online, consumers are potentially exposed to more cyber threats.
Notably, 74% say they are concerned about today’s cyber risks, yet 20% of respondents admit that they are not confident in their ability to prevent a cyber attack.
As consumers continue to adapt to and embrace these new digital worlds, cyber criminals are taking note and looking to take advantage. After all, the more time consumers spend online interacting with various applications and services, the greater their exposure is potential risks such as phishing attacks or fraud. Further proof this is a big concern for consumers; McAfee found that 78% of Indian respondents admitted to being most concerned about their financial data, such as credit card or banking details, being stolen, while 74% were concerned that their personal information, such as birthday or address, could get hacked.
Furthermore, when asked about their perception of risk and security, 58% indicated that they feel secure while performing online activities. Yet, while 63% feel most secure ordering food online, their perception is the opposite when it comes to online dating, where 42% feel less secure.
Now, let’s talk online retail
Online shopping habits have spoken volumes of the digital wave of consumerism; 83% of respondents say they have purchased at least one connected device in 2020, while just 35% bought three connected devices. However, 75% of those surveyed adopted or purchased security solutions in 2020, due to a sense of responsibility to protect their household from cyber risks and a growing awareness of increasing cybercrime.
Personal data has become a currency consumers are comfortable sharing, which is a big risk, especially as services often ask for multiple contact points. Interestingly, Indian respondents have been found to favour convenience over security, as 95% have started using features designed for convenience in 2020, such as text and email notifications (67%), opting to stay logged in or to hit the ‘remember user credentials’ (39%), and store and auto-populate credit card details for faster checkouts (36%).
Across 51% of the households surveyed, children under the age of 18 were conducting online activities, while in 28% households, children were under the age of 12, thus making the need to ensure a secure online experience even more pertinent.
“The first step in protecting ourselves is realizing that there’s a lot we can do to stay safe online and to preserve our digital wellness,” says Terry Hicks, Executive Vice President of McAfee’s Consumer Business, in a company statement, “It’s better to prevent a problem than be in a position of having to fix it. We can always work on our own safe online habits — from the apps we install, to the websites we click on, to the emails we open. Making this shift in our mindset and behaviors is a necessity in protecting what we value most- our privacy and identity — giving us all much needed peace of mind.”
*McAfee had commissioned global independent market research agency MSI-ACI to conduct an online questionnaire to 1,002 adults over the age of 18 across India between December 11 and December 23, 2020.