An IQS survey commissioned by mBank on safe use of the web shows a marked difference between how we perceive the dangers lurking in the web and our own skills and how we behave when browsing and whether we can actually spot the hazards. The report also identifies the growing role of banks in educating clients on the most newest dangers.
Cybercrime is no longer a figment of someone's imagination, seen in sci-fi films, but a real danger. Police statistics stand testament to this, which clearly show that every year more and more Poles fall prey to hackers. Just in the first eleven months of 2015, the Police recorded 33 per cent more cybercrimes than in the entire 2014.
According to Poles the web is quite safe.
Whereas, according to the IQS survey commissioned by mBank (the “Using mobile banking and internet security” survey, January 2016, conducted using the RTS method on 05-07 January 2016, on a representative n=800 omnibus sample, including persons who have an account, computer and smartphone, on-line banking users, mobile banking users) as many as 6 out of 10 Poles consider browsing the web to be safe. Interestingly, the more advance the user, the larger the tendency to assess on-line safety positively - more than 70 per cent of mobile banking users consider the web to be a safe place.
We feel confident in a safe web
The lion’s share of Poles (68 per cent) positively assess their abilities when it comes to information technology. Individuals who use information technology more extensively have an even better opinion as to their abilities. Almost all mobile banking users (92 per cent) consider themselves to be able to deal well (or very well) with information technology.
Whereas if infected by malware, only half the respondents are able to cope by themselves. Even amongst technologically advanced users as many as 40 per cent had to seek third party help in such circumstances.
Phishing and the Polish number
Malware and phishing are the most common dangers on the web. Internet users seem to have considerable knowledge on the former, or malicious software. They seem to be able spot infections quite easily - as many as 63 per cent of Poles admit to encountering it (amongst the advanced users group this figure reaches 77 per cent) - and they know how to defend themselves: for example use of antivirus software.
On the other hand the second most frequently reported hazard, or phishing (a method for coaxing sensitive information such as internet banking login details or passwords) is becoming more popular among internet criminals than malware. According to Google Safe Browsing, between 2014 and 2015, the number of websites with malware decreased by nearly 19 per cent, whereas the number of phishing websites over the same period rocketed by 35 per cent.
Now, for Polish Internet users, phishing is still difficult to spot - they are unable to accurately identify it amongst other e-mails.
Among the survey respondents, only 13 per cent admitted encountering this form of malicious acquisition of sensitive data (among the technologic ally advanced only 1 in 5), and 18 per cent were unable to even describe it.
Furthermore, as transpires from the “Security of electronic financial services” research, conducted by TNS Polska (TNS Polska own “Security of electronic financial services” research, January 2016. The research was conducted in December 2015. The report was drawn up on the basis of the following sources: internet survey of 500 on-line banking users, telephone survey among 100 mobile payments users), Poles to not treat this hazard too seriously. As many as 54 per cent of respondents admitted that “malicious acquisition of electronic banking username and password through a false e-mail message with a request to provide these data is unlikely (38 per cent) or even entirely impossible (16 per cent).
Advanced internet and mobile device users are a specific group, which not only uses the web more intensively, but also has a profoundly better opinion of their own technological abilities (in the IQS survey for mBank as many as 92 per cent consider themselves proficient in the use of information technology), upgrades their computer operating system more often (71 per cent), uses antivirus software more frequently (87 per cent in a computer and 41 per cent in a smartphone) and is more willing to purchase licensed antivirus products, if only to better protect their devices against criminals (17 per cent uses a paid McAfee as compared to 1 in ten in the entire population of Poles).
Surprisingly, together with the expected high level of knowledge on the dangers, members of this group exhibit far reaching carelessness within the scope of logging into the bank from unknown devices. As many as 43 per cent of the respondents from this group admit to logging into the bank from somebody else's laptops, tablets or smartphones.
On the other hand lesser skills within the scope of information technology go hand in hand with keeping a healthy distance towards somebody else’s devices - from amongst all the survey subjects, only 29 per cent log in from unknown devices.
We know that protection is important, but we do not pay much attention to it
Most Poles are aware that if using the internet, antivirus protection is worth its salt.. As many as 8 out of 10 Poles who use a PC also use such software. The more often we use information technology, the more likely we are to use antivirus software, with even as many as 87 per cent for mobile banking users.
However it should be noted, that as many as 20 per cent of respondents do not have antivirus software, even the most basic version, which makes them susceptible to malware attacks.
The majority of respondents prefer not to pay for antivirus protection, and use the Avast freeware (51-53 per cent of users). The percentage of people who do not use antivirus software, regardless of the knowledge levels and self-assessment remains stable at 10 - 12 per cent, and that is probably not associated with the price of such software (as there are free solutions) but more likely, lack of awareness.
However, the picture is much worse when it comes to updating to current versions. Evert fifth respondent does not update the operating system on their computers, and among those who do, only just slightly more than half do it regularly. And regular software updating makes it possible to eliminate the risk associated with hackers using software loopholes to gain control over our computers.
A smartphone is not a computer ...
mBank also used IQS to ask Poles as to their attitude to safety in the context of mobile devices. For us, the dangers associated with a telephone still seem to have a more “traditional” dimension. In the TNS own research cited above, loss or theft of a mobile phone was at the top of most probable events which constituted a risk. As many as 81 per cent of respondents consider it very probable.
Furthermore, the IQS survey commissioned by mBank shows, that we pay much less attention to protecting a telephone than a computer. 54 per cent of users update a smartphone's operating system (although if they do do it, then it’s done regularly - 81 per cent do it immediately after receiving a prompt). Having an antivirus programme installed on a smartphone is equally rare: only 36 per cent of users. Here Apple mobile devices are an exception as - similarly to computers by that brand - there is no antivirus software for them. However, this does not affect the overall conclusions of the survey, as only 1-2 per cent of users have computers and only 2-5 per cent have smartphones with Apple software.
The IQS survey for mBank shows one interesting tendency pertaining to the differences in awareness in terms of protecting computers and smartphones. Is might seem that we are still not convinced, that a mobile phone is essentially a computer, which can also connect to the internet, and is thus also exposed to similar dangers.
The bank as an important source of information
For Poles, the main source of knowledge on the dangers in the web are internet media, understood as websites and blogs (50 per cent of all survey subjects use them). Social networks are also prominent here, however here a clear correlation can be seen between the level of technological advancement - 20 per cent of respondents use social networks for knowledge, whereas this figure for advanced users is 42 per cent.
The more technologically advanced a user, the more important it is for them to acquire information about dangers directly from a bank - 9 per cent of the entire sample population identified the bank as an important source of information, with this increasing to 23 per cent among mobile banking users.
On the other hand in the TNS study, the bank was in first place as the source of security information. In response to the “Where do you get your information on the security of electronic financial services (banking and payments) from? “ question, as many as 71 per cent of respondents indicated the bank with the internet media in second place (65 per cent). This shows the growing expectations of clients with respect of banks within the scope of communicating security risks.