Protecting yourself from dangers online is probably more important than ever as we spend more and more time on our phones and computers.
However, a recent survey of 1,000 randomly selected people in the UK and US that we conducted with real-time survey provider OnePulse revealed shocking statistics about people’s cybersecurity habits – or their behavior. absence.
The study found that two-thirds of those surveyed use dedicated antivirus software, whether free or paid, while just under a third use a VPN service.
The really striking figure, however, is that over 20% of respondents said they do not use any cybersecurity tools.
This means that more than one in five people are exposed to all risks online without any specialized online protection by a third party.
The risks are real
Our reliance on the web gives criminals and malicious individuals increased reach to target us, and the attacks we currently face are much smoother and harder to detect.
“It’s easy to think of cybersecurity issues as primarily someone else’s issue,” says Mike Williams, Internal Security Specialist. “Most people have the idea of ’we’re not doing anything important, no one is going to target us, we’re very careful online, iPhones don’t get viruses anyway.’
“But the reality is, no matter what their situation, anyone can face security concerns.
“Safety is more than just crossing your fingers and making a wish. There are many dangers, but protecting yourself is easy, and in many cases you can do it for free.”
While we may still receive questionable emails from time to time from long lost millionaire parents, we are now much more likely to see phishing and email scams impersonating people closer. from home, especially our employers. That’s not all you need to worry about, however.
If you like to get out of your house and work in a cafe, using public Wi-Fi is also a real problem. If the connection isn’t secure (and they often aren’t), then anyone with the right technology can see exactly what you’re doing.
Downloading programs and files can also be risky business. We always recommend downloading the software directly from the vendor’s website rather than from a separate online repository, but sometimes this is not possible. If you need to download anything from a site that you don’t fully trust, it is essential to take precautions.
For those who embark on the torrent, the risk is even greater. Not only do you have to browse illegal downloads yourself, P2P sharing opens the door for anyone who downloads or streams the same files.
Antivirus as the first line of defense
It’s true that built-in protection has come a long way in recent years, but there is still no substitute for dedicated antivirus software. Essentially, the antivirus software is always active and monitors the connections made by your device. All downloaded files are scanned and secured.
While this doesn’t give you carte blanche to download anything and everything carelessly, it does give you the peace of mind that if you unintentionally expose yourself to malware, your antivirus should detect it and prevent it from happening. damage your device.
Some antivirus programs can also protect you from questionable websites by blocking links and alerting you to dangers while browsing. Some people find it intrusive and can be turned off, but having this option is a good thing.
If you’re using a Windows or Mac PC, it’s a good idea to have antivirus running, whether you’re a casual browser or a power user. Mobile devices are less likely to suffer from malware infections, but it’s still worth taking precautions, especially with an Android antivirus app.
Most basic plans with the big antivirus players only support one device, but upgrading to cover multiple devices with an internet security suite isn’t too expensive.
It is clear that people understand the importance of antivirus tools. With over 65% of respondents stating that they use one (whether free or paid), the majority of people are aware of the risks posed online – it can only be a good thing.
Additionally, Microsoft Defender ships with every installation of Windows and is now much more robust than before. This means that Windows users often get good protection without realizing it.
Apple’s built-in offering isn’t as robust as Windows’s, but the trade-off is that there is less malware that targets Macs. However, in either case, for full protection, it is often advisable to implement a premium third-party solution for maximum protection.
Often confused with antivirus software – although less so now, it is becoming more and more common – secure VPNs protect you in a different way online.
By using a VPN, you encrypt and hide all your internet traffic from anyone watching. At home, this is usually your Internet Service Provider (ISP). For many, preventing your ISP from spying on your activity is reason enough to invest in a VPN, as well as, of course, to access geo-blocked streaming content and avoid censorship.
However, VPNs really make sense when you’re on the move, using public Wi-Fi networks. Found almost everywhere, from trains to cafes, using a VPN over a public Wi-Fi network is a must because when you are connected, your traffic can be intercepted. If you are using a banking app or entering your card information, it is best to exercise caution and take steps to protect your data.
Compared to antivirus use, VPNs are still somewhat of a niche with only around 30% of respondents using them. While that does make sense to some extent – not everyone cares about remaining anonymous or connecting to public Wi-Fi – we still believe that having access to the right tools when you need them is preventative protection. essential.
The answer won’t surprise you: To stay safe online, we recommend that you use as many forms of protection as possible. So that means good antivirus, VPN, and regular checks with things like malware cleaning tools.
All of this can be found for free, and while a free VPN doesn’t offer all that a paid service might offer, if you’re just looking for quick protection, they get the job done – just make sure you choose a provider. good reputation !
Otherwise, the most valuable tool to use is your common sense, whatever protections you have in place. If a link looks strange and your browser warns you that it is not secure, quit rather than heading to a potentially malware-infested site. You will save yourself a lot of hassle in the process.
What did we ask the interviewees?
OnePulse is a gamified survey platform that sends out short surveys to its users and returns responses from 1,000 first responders. These respondents then receive a small payment of a few cents.
We asked the question, “What cybersecurity software do you use to stay safer and more private online?” “
We provided the eight answers below, and users could select any that applied. The proportions can be found in the graphical results visualization near the top of the page.
- Antivirus (free)
- Antivirus (paid)
- VPN (free)
- VPN (paid)
- Malware Protection Tool
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