Cybercrime rises manifold during online festival shopping: Survey

Prashasti Awasthi Mumbai | Updated on November 17, 2020 Published on November 17, 2020

McAfee Corp, an American global computer security software company, today announced findings from its ‘2020 Holiday Season: State of Today’s Digital e-Shopper’ India survey.

The survey report revealed that while consumers are aware of increased online risks and scams, they still planned to do more online shopping in the festival season.

McAfee’s survey indicated that Indian consumers of all ages are shopping online more due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than half (68.1 per cent) reporting an uptick since Covid-19 started. This trend will also likely go up during the holiday season, with almost half (42.3 per cent) planning on increasing their online shopping activity over the festival period.

A whopping $4.1-billion e-commerce sales transactions were recorded in the first week of 2020 after the festival season, compared to $2.7 billion in 2019. This reveals more people have been connecting and shopping online this year — for themselves as well as for family and friends.

The survey noted that close to one in three (29.5 per cent) of Indians are shopping online three-five days a week and 15.7 per cent are shopping every day.

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Growth in cybercrime

McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team recently found evidence that online cybercrime continues to increase.

McAfee Labs observing 419 threats per minute in Q2 2020, an increase of almost 12 per cent over the previous quarter. With activity set to rise from both consumers and criminals, there is an added concern of whether consumers are taking security threats as seriously as they should.

The survey further revealed that 79.7 per cent of those over 65 years believe there is a greater cyber risk due to Covid-19, while even more (81 per cent) of those aged 18-24 state the same.

A quarter (25.1 per cent) of 18-24-year olds do not think about their online activity as it relates to cyber-crime, whilst almost four in 10 (37.6 per cent) 45-54-year-olds are aware, but it does not impact their online activity.

About 32.1 per cent of consumers noted that while they are aware of cyber risks, they have no plans to change their online buying habits.

This less-than-cautious approach is further seen when respondents are offered deals or discounts. Only 23.8 per cent of respondents sometimes checking to festive sales deals sent via email or text emails are authentic and trustworthy.

Commenting on the survey, Venkat Krishnapur, Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India, said: “Shopping behaviours continue to evolve, with consumers skipping in-store purchases to a great extent and shifting a bulk of their festive purchases online. In a bid to avail the best holiday deals and discounts, consumers open themselves up to risks on malicious websites, falling prey to phishing attacks through spam emails that are weaponised.”

He added: “It becomes even easier for cybercriminals to take advantage of innocent users, considering only 27.5 per cent of online buyers use online security solutions. With cybercriminals looking to take advantage of this surge in online transactions, it is crucial that users stay mindful of potential risks and undertake necessary steps to protect themselves and their families this holiday season.”

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Published on November 17, 2020
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