Online alternatives continue to replace activities in people’s lives and routines that were once in-person
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, according to McAfee’s 2021 Consumer Security Mindset Report. With the increase in activities online, consumers are potentially exposed to more cyber threats. Notably, 3 out of 4 people in India (74%) say they are concerned about today’s cyber risks, yet 1 in 5 (20%) respondents admit that they are not confident in their ability to prevent a cyberattack.
As consumers continue to adapt to and embrace their new digital worlds, cyber criminals are taking note and looking to take advantage. 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 over three quarters (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, more than half (58%) indicated that they feel secure while performing online activities. Yet, while people feel most secure ordering food online (63%), their perception is the opposite when it comes to online dating, where close to half (42%) feel less secure.
“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,” said Terry Hicks, EVP of McAfee’s Consumer Business. “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.”
Consumer Digital-First Mindset Influenced by Shopping Habits
Buying habits of consumers indicate how they are going about their new digital-first lives, with 83% of respondents saying they’ve purchased at least one connected device in 2020, while 1 in 3 (35%) bought three connected devices. A majority (75%) of those surveyed adopted or purchased security solutions in 2020. The top reasons for this emerged as a sense of responsibility to protect their household from risks and awareness of increasing cybercrime.
Consumers are also becoming more comfortable with sharing information online which is a big risk – especially as services often ask for multiple contact points. Indian respondents have been found to favor 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/remember user credentials (39%), and store and auto populate credit card details for faster checkouts (36%). In almost half (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.
Some ways consumers can protect themselves and their loved ones include:
- Use multi-factor authentication to double check the authenticity of digital users and add an additional layer of security to protect personal data and information.
- Connect with caution. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) like McAfee Safe Connect to help keep you safe while you’re online.
- Browse with added security using a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor to block malware and phishing sites if you click on a malicious link.
- Protect your identity and important personal information by using McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which also helps you recover your information if your identity is compromised.