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Women generally less concerned about cyberthreats: Kaspersky Lab survey

Zafirah Salim | March 12, 2015
This attitude can have dangerous consequences, since there is no code of chivalry that would discourage a cybercriminal from preying on women.

Less than 20 percent of women - out of over 11,000 global respondents - believe that they may fall victim to cybercriminals, compared to a quarter of the male respondents, according to a survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International released on March 6.  

This means that majority of female Internet users are less concerned than their male counterparts about protecting themselves against online threats. Such attitude can have dangerous consequences, since there is no code of chivalry that would discourage a cybercriminal from preying on women, said Kaspersky Lab in a media statement. 

In addition, the survey revealed that women generally have poorer knowledge on cyberthreats - such as ransomware, mobile malware, and exploit - compared to men. For instance, 38 percent of women are unaware of ransomware, overwhelming the figure for men (27 percent).

This lack of awareness can cause women to pay less attention to protecting themselves against cyberthreats, said Kaspersky. When they allow others - friends, family members or colleagues - to use their main device, 36 percent of women admitted to doing nothing to protect their data because they "see no risk".

Another key finding of the survey is that women tend to turn to IT professionals for help; unlike men who prefer to spend money on buying designated software to help clean or protect their system.

Males a bigger cyberthreat victim than women

Despite earlier findings that show that women are generally less concerned about cyberthreats, male respondents were found to face more malware incidents (35 percent) compared to females (27 percent).

Men were also noted to be a more common victim of financial-related cyber attacks. For example, in 2014, cyber attacks targeting users' financial data were encountered by almost half of men (47 percent). This was only experienced by 39 percent of women.

Kaspersky reasoned that this may be because women are particularly concerned about the security of financial transactions compared to other online activities. This is supported by the survey findings which noted that more women are worried about the risk of online fraud affecting their bank accounts (64 percent of women compared to 59 percent of men); and that they also feel more vulnerable when making online payments (51 percent of women compared to 46 percent of men).

"In real life, people understand that it's important to take sensible precautions to protect the things that they value as they go about their day-to-day activities. The same is true online," said Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab. "Following sensible web safety guidelines allow us to greatly reduce the risk of losing valuable data or falling victim to financial fraud."


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