1 in 5 South Africans don’t care about passwords, 8.8m hit by ‘cyber crime’


South Africans have a lot to deal with. Whether its political news, the scourge of crime or one of its national sporting teams’ latest dismal performance, it’s tough being South African. Symantec‘s Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report has just given South African internet users another thing to worry about.

The report’s findings suggest that 8.8-million South Africans fell victim to online crime in the past year — that’s around 18% of South Africans.

According to Symantec, South Africans also really love dinner and dating: “58% would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after their account has been compromised,” the company explains, while 58% would also “ would rather endure a terrible date than deal with credit/debit card customer service.”

With that said though, the report also suggests that “South Africans have heightened sensitivity to online information compromises” when compared to global counterparts.

Related: Android full-disk encryption is less secure than Apple’s, study finds

Also, the most likely age group to experience cyber crime are “millennials [39%] and generation Xers [37%]”.

But while cyber crime is clearly an issue for South Africans, we’re fairly lax when it comes to securing our devices.

Nearly 1 in 5 does not have a password on his/her smartphone or desktop computer,” Symantec’s report explains, while the same number [1 in 5] use “secure” passwords.

While these numbers paint a dire picture, it should be noted that Symantec surveyed around “18 000 consumers across 18 markets, including about 1 000 across South Africa.” Effectively, no survey can possibly survey the entire country, so results will always have an element of exclusion.

However, that isn’t to suggest that cyber crime is a non-issue in South Africa — we should all practice a bit more caution when browsing or using the internet.

Have you been affected by cyber crime? What do you do to secure your devices and online accounts? Let us know in the comments below.

Andy Walker, former editor


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