4 in 10 Indians have experienced identity theft in the virtual world: Report

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on April 08, 2020 Published on April 08, 2020
WannaCry demanded ransoms starting at $300, in line with many cyber extortion campaigns.

File photo

Nearly 39 per cent people in India have experienced identity theft online, with 10 per cent impacted in the past year alone, according to the latest Cyber Safety Insights Report report by cyber safety firm NortonLifeLock.

According to the study, identity theft and cyber crime appear to be more common among men than women. 44 per cent of men have been victims of identity theft as compared to 33 per cent of women, whereas 84 per cent have been victims of cyber crime as compared to 76 per cent women.

Identity theft is more prominent among adults aged between 18-39 years according to the report. 41 per cent of victims of identity theft belonged to this age group as per the report.

The study further highlighted the awareness among individuals in regard to the steps to be taken in case of cyber crime. 63 per cent people of those surveyed said that they would have no idea what to do in case of identity theft, while 79 per cent of respondents wished to have more information on what to do if it were to happen.

Privacy matters

According to the report, India had the highest number of people to report being alarmed about their privacy. “Over 8 in 10 Indian respondents (81 per cent) report being more alarmed than ever about their privacy, the highest of all 10 countries surveyed by far (67 per cent global average),” the report said.

“The two main concerns as reported by the respondents are selling of sensitive personal information to third parties and it being used in decision-making processes without their consent (41 per cent) and their personal information being exposed in a data breach and compromised by cyber criminals (40 per cent),” it added.

Almost 94 per cent of Indians have actively taken steps to “hide their online footprint” by taking measures to protect their online activities and personal information according to the study.

The study revealed that 74 per cent of Indians often times choose not to download a certain app over privacy concerns. However, there are certain exceptions in which Indian consumers are more likely to find sharing data with third-party entities more acceptable than global respondents as per the report.

Sharing data

These situations include sharing data such as shopping history with companies to get better advertisements. Indians also found it acceptable for a technology device company to allow its employees to listen to their voice commands via voice assistants to improve products and services.

Other instances where Indian respondents did not show concern over data sharing was a “social media company using photos or videos they post on social media to help train their artificial intelligence tech to protect their users from seeing violent or inappropriate images,” the study revealed.

Respondents have put the major onus on the government to ensure data privacy, followed by private companies according to the report.

“A solid minority (42 per cent) believe it is the government that should be most responsible, followed by companies (32 per cent). By contrast, they tend to hold the individual consumers least responsible (46 per cent) for protecting their own privacy by reading privacy policies and ensuring their personal information is shared only with companies they trust,” the report said.

Published on April 08, 2020

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