Survey of netizens shows large gap in digital literacy

Survey of netizens shows large gap in digital literacy

cybersafety practices

.Representative image.

A survey of over 7,500 Indians on how they use the internet has revealed a yawning gap in digital literacy and cyber safety practices.

The year-long survey, conducted in both metro and non-metro areas and covering netizens aged 18 to 55, discovered the rampant sharing of one-time passwords and even bank account passwords.

Some 61% of respondents admitted to having conducted online transactions over five times a month, primarily money transfer and online shopping, but only 37% said they changed their internet banking passwords regularly. Of these, a third could not recall how long since they changed their banking account passwords.

Unsurprisingly, 66% of these respondents admitted to having been scammed online, either through spamming or phishing. Despite being victimised, 52% of respondents said they had not filed police complaints, citing apprehension or reluctance to undergo the “hassles of filing a complaint”. 

This trend appeared to be largely followed by Bengaluru’s netizens, 700 of whom were surveyed for the report compiled by the online e-commerce portal, OLX, in the run-up to Safer Internet Day, which was observed on February 11.

According to the survey, 32% of Bengalureans transacted online more than 15 times a month, while 33% transacted less than five times. The top three transactions involved money transfer, online shopping and utility bill payments. Remarkably, 52% said that they were more comfortable transacting offline, a preference which appears to be reinforced by the fact that 68% said they were victims of financial fraud.

Upon being scammed, 47% said they reported the crime outright to police, while 33% did not. Twenty percent said they wanted to report the crime but held back because they did not want to deal with the police. 

Forty-three percent said government and private companies working together could contain cybercrime while adding that “police also need to have a better approach towards such cases and victims.” They also said more awareness would raise user vigilance.

The nature of the scams revealed the gullibility of the victims. Twenty-nine percent said they had shared their OTPs, while 12% said they shared their bank account number, password or UPI PIN. Fourteen percent had shared their debit or credit card figures, including their CVV security code.

At the same time, a majority of Bengaluru respondents (63.5%) were leery of conducting financial transactions on public WiFi networks such as those at the airport or a cafe - significantly lower than the 67% national average. 

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