hacker attack

Hackers hone their skills while consumers in India remain complacent: report

Norton by Symantec has released the India findings from the annual Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, which sheds light on the truth about online crime and the personal effect it has on consumers.

The report found that consumers who were victims of cybercrime within the past year often continued their unsafe behavior. For example, while these consumers were equally likely to use a password on every account, they were over twice as likely to share their password with others, negating their efforts. Further, 79% of consumers know they must actively protect their information online, but they still share passwords and engage in other risky behavior.

Additionally, close to one in five (18%) consumers have at least one unprotected device, leaving their other devices vulnerable to ransomware, malicious websites, zero days and phishing attacks. While quoting various reasons for not protecting their devices, 36% said they don’t do anything “risky” online, and 23% believed security measures would slow them down.


“Our findings show that people are increasingly growing aware of the need to protect their personal information online, but aren’t motivated to take adequate precautions to stay safe,” said Ritesh Chopra, Country Manager, Norton by Symantec. “While consumers remain complacent, hackers are refining their skills and adapting their scams to further take advantage of people, making the need for consumers to take some action increasingly important.”

Indians Love Public Wi-Fi but Underestimate the Accompanied Risks

Amongst those surveyed, a vast majority (85 percent) of Indians have Wi-Fi in their homes. Proving that thinking about cyber security doesn’t mean you’re secure, people who experienced cybercrime within the past year were more likely to be concerned about the security of their home Wi-Fi network (79% vs. 70% non-victims), yet less likely to password protect their home Wi-Fi network than non-victims (28 percent vs. 10 percent of non-victims have unprotected networks).

Only 56% of consumers knew how to determine whether the Wi-Fi network they are using is secure; this is of concern especially since 22 percent of respondents agreed to have used their neighbour’s Wi-Fi network without their permission. Additionally, when it comes to public Wi-Fi, one in four (27%) regularly use public Wi-Fi connections available at airports, coffee shops, etc. Further:

·Nearly two out of three consumers (59%) believe entering financial information online when connected to public Wi-Fi is riskier than reading their credit or debit card number aloud in a public place (41%).

· 70% say public Wi-Fi is useful for checking emails, sending documents, and logging into accounts on the go, and 80 percent of the business travelers agree.

· 45% of consumers connect to a Wi-Fi network using VPN regularly; others can potentially allow a hacker to steal data as it travels on the network.

Despite half of respondents believing they are likely to have their identity stolen after entering account or personal information on public Wi-Fi, in order to gain access to public Wi-Fi consumers are willing to give in to actions such as answering a survey question (58 percent), installing a third-party app (35%), provide access to files while online (21%) or even turning off security software (19%).

Consumers Admit the Risks Are Real and Bad Habits Are Hard to Break- Online or Otherwise

Experiencing cybercrime is a potential consequence of living in a connected world, but consumers still remain complacent when it comes to protecting their personal information online.

64% of consumers said that over the past five years, it’s become harder to stay safe online, compared to 60 percent who said the same of the real world.

·Millennials exhibit surprisingly slack online security habits, and are happy to share passwords that compromise their online safety (34%). This is likely why they remain the most common victims of cybercrime, with 55% having experienced cybercrime in the past year.

·Consumers are still willing to click on links from senders they don’t know or open malicious attachments. One in three (33%) cannot detect a phishing attack. 9% of the overall respondents had no criteria to determine a phishing attack and took to guessing.

· 65% of Indian consumers surveyed don’t believe there are enough connected device users for it to be a worthwhile target for hackers. Yet, 68% believe that just as hackers learnt to benefit from targeting social media and financial accounts, they are on their way to learning how accessing connected home devices can be lucrative.

Indians Rank High in Terms of Falling Prey to Ransomware

One in three (33%) Indians have either experienced ransomware themselves or know someone who has. Of those who have experienced ransomware, 83% of the victims did so in the past one year alone, indicating a steady rise of this menace. 27% of these victims actually paid the ransom to gain access to their files. Proving that paying the ransom is no guarantee, 26% victims paid ransom, but could not retrieve their files.

“Cybercrime isn’t going away and consumers must reject complacency to adequately protect themselves. By adopting a few basic behaviours, we can make big strides in mitigating cybercrime risk.” added Chopra.

As a starting point, Norton recommends the following best practices:

Avoid Password Promiscuity: Protect your accounts with strong, unique passwords that use a combination of at least 10 upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers to help keep the bad guys at bay. Make it difficult for attackers to access your information by changing your passwords every three months and not reusing passwords for multiple accounts. That way, if a cybercriminal gets your password, they can’t compromise all of your accounts. And if it’s too overwhelming to keep up this practice, use a password manager to help!

Don’t Go On a Phishing Expedition: Think twice before opening unsolicited messages or attachments, particularly from people you don’t know, or clicking on random links. The message may be from a cybercriminal who has compromised your friend or family member’s email or social media accounts.

Do Not Pay the Ransom and Backup: Backing up important data is the single most effective way of combating ransomware infection. Attackers have leverage over their victims by encrypting valuable files and leaving them inaccessible. If the victim has backup copies, they can restore their files once the infection has been cleaned up.

Be in Control When Online: Entrust your devices to security software to help protect you against the latest threats. Protect all your devices with a robust, multi-platform solution, like Norton Security.

Know the Ins and Outs Of Public Wi-Fi Networks: Accessing personal information on unprotected public Wi-Fi is like broadcasting your entire screen on TV – everything you do on a website or through an app, could potentially be exposed. Avoid anything that involves sharing your personal information (paying a bill online, logging in to social media accounts, paying for anything with a credit card, etc.)

Tidy Your (Dis) Connected Home: When installing a new network-connected device, such as a router or smart thermostat, remember to change the default password. If you don’t plan on using the Internet feature(s), such as with smart appliances, disable or protect remote access when not needed. Also, protect your wireless connections with strong Wi-Fi encryption so no one can easily view the data traveling between your devices.

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