Cyber Security

2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report: Bitdefender

More Than Three-Quarters Surveyed Conduct Sensitive Transactions on Mobile Devices Yet Nearly Half Forgo Mobile Security Protection; Additionally, Most Are Concerned With the Privacy and Security of AI

Bitdefender, a leading global cybersecurity company today released the 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report, based on an independent survey of over 7,000 consumers revealing top security behaviors, practices and concerns across their digital footprint and lifestyle.

“The results of this survey demonstrate, more than ever, the importance of cybersecurity awareness as cybercriminals increase their attacks on consumers in both frequency and sophistication,” said Ciprian Istrate, senior vice president of operations at Bitdefender Consumer Solutions Group. “The sudden rise of AI adoption by cybercriminals has been a game changer and poses an unprecedented threat to consumers’ digital safety. With a surge in AI-assisted texting scams, fraud attempts, and expertly crafted phishing emails, it is imperative consumers remain vigilant to understand, prioritize, and apply cybersecurity best practices.”

The 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report, is based on an independent survey and analysis of over 7,000 general consumers across geographical regions of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom (U.K.) and the United States (U.S.).

Key findings from the 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report include:

  • The security and privacy of artificial intelligence is a growing concern – The majority of respondents (67%) are concerned about the security and privacy of artificial intelligence (AI). Geography played a part in this question where respondents in Spain were most concerned at 80% in stark contrast to Italy where only 49% stated the same. AI’s insatiable appetite for personal data to feed its machine-learning algorithms has raised serious concerns about data storage, usage, and access – concerns that traditional data protection laws are not equipped to answer.
  • 78% conduct sensitive transactions on their devices, yet nearly half forgo mobile security solutions – The top ranked concern for consumers is cybercriminals accessing their finances at 48% followed by identity protection at 17% with more than three-quarters (78%) of all respondents stating they use a mobile device to conduct sensitive transactions such as banking, accessing investment accounts, managing crypto wallets or for healthcare. However, 45% of respondents don’t use any type of mobile security solution. The top reason (38%) is that users trust iOS and Android to be secure followed surprisingly by 23% stating they didn’t know you could buy security solutions for mobile devices.
  • Nearly one in four experienced a security incident in the past year – Of all those surveyed, nearly a quarter (24%) reported that they experienced one or more security incidents in the last 12 months. At 37.6%, Australia led the number of respondents who experience a security incident followed by Spain (27.7%), U.S. (26.7%) and Germany (26.3%). Italy had the fewest number at 16.14% followed by U.K. (17.2%) and France (19.6%). 37.5% of respondents aged 16-24 reported having experienced a security incident compared to just 11.9% aged 55 and over. This correlates with the ability to recognize (or in this case not recognize) scams as one ages.
  • Text messaging scams is the top threat consumers faced – Surprisingly, SMS (texting) scams were the most experienced security incident by 45.4% of overall respondents edging out fraud attempts at 44%, phishing email (42%), data exposure (27.5%), malware infection (16.4%) and doxxing (9.2%). Malware infections were reported highest amongst those aged 35 to 44, suggesting Millennials are more inclined to download unofficial software or pirated content and click on suspicious links.
  • Managing multiple online accounts is the status quo – Over one-third (35.7%) of all respondents stated they manage between six to ten (or more) online accounts to support their digital lifestyle including shopping, banking, social media, and entertainment. The U.S. led in respondents having ten or more accounts at 7% and France led with respondents having the fewest accounts (between one and two) at 42%.
  • Password management remains a glaring weak point – Obtaining password credentials has always been a core objective for cybercriminals, yet how consumers continue to manage their passwords is alarming. Over one-third (37%) write their passwords down and 34% use the same password for two or more accounts. 17.3% use the web browser autofill feature and 14.4% use Apple’s strong password autofill feature. On a positive note, 23% surveyed stated they use a password manager.
  • A majority believe they are not a cybercriminal target (but this comes with a caveat) – 76% of all respondents stated they don’t believe they are a target or were unsure. While this statement is correct, the context from a consumer’s point of view may be misleading and lending itself to poor cybersecurity practices. Cybercriminals typically don’t target an individual (a common misconception) but rather look for vulnerable systems and leverage poor cybersecurity behavior to their advantage.

Data Sources

Bitdefender commissioned Censuswide, a leading international market research consultancy firm, to survey and analyze responses from 7,355 consumers ranging in age from 16 to over 55. The survey and analysis took place from December 2023 through January 2024. The respondents were geographically split equally between Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, U.K. and the U.S.

To download a complimentary copy of the full Bitdefender 2024 Consumer Cybersecurity Assessment Report, visit here.

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