ESET cybersecurity survey amongst internet users in India reveals large gap between threat awareness and taking action

  • Eight out of ten respondents in India have experienced a cyberattack or online threat with common forms being malware (26%), fraudulent charges on mobile payment or digital wallets (18%) and social media breach or duplication (18%).
  • Only 25% respondents have installed free or paid antivirus/security app on their mobile devices.
  • Majority of parents in India (78%) have not spoken to their children about cybersecurity. 21% said that their children have been exposed to inappropriate content online.
  • 11,200 respondents from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand were surveyed.

MUMBAI, INDIA – November 22, 2021 – ESET, a global leader in cybersecurity, today released the results from its APAC Consumer Cybersecurity Survey, revealing that eight out of ten (46%) respondents in India said they have experienced a cyberattack or online threat in the past 12 months. By analysing consumers’ habits based on previous online interactions, the survey provided a deeper insight on the awareness of basic cybersecurity threats and best practices of actions online. The survey was conducted earlier this year with 11,200 respondents from Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan, and Thailand.

While the pandemic has introduced a new paradigm in the way we live, work, learn, socialize and play, it has also resulted in consumers’ increased reliance on digital technologies and services, which is a major factor for cybercriminals to pursue illegal activities.

“As we continue to navigate challenges from the pandemic, the reliance on digital technology for various aspects of our daily lives will likely spill into the future. Our survey findings suggest that it is now common for internet users to encounter online threats. Therefore, it is critical that consumers are educated about the growing threats, and are aware of the steps they can take to protect themselves as well as their children when conducting online activities,” said Parvinder Walia, President of Asia Pacific and Japan, ESET.

Of the seven APAC markets surveyed, India (81%), Thailand (65%), and Taiwan (63%) had the highest number of respondents who have experienced a cyberattack or online threat. In India, the most common forms were attributed to malware (26%), fraudulent charges on mobile payment or digital wallets (18%) and social media breach or duplication (18%). Only about 25% respondents installed free or paid antivirus/security app on their mobile devices.

Figure 1: Respondents were asked if they experienced at least one cyberattack or online threat such as malware attack, theft of personal data and social media breach in the past 12 months


Consumers’ vigilance is critical as online shopping scams are rife
As people are increasingly dependent on the internet to work, communicate, shop and entertain themselves, scammers are also taking advantage of the new normal to lure victims. Three out of four (76%) of surveyed respondents in India indicated that they have come across online scams.

Figure 2: The number of respondents who said they came across online scams

The most common types of scams were online shopping (27%), social media (21%), COVID-19 related (18%). With close to half of surveyed respondents saying that they shop at least once a month, it is critical for consumers to remain vigilant when engaging in online transactions.

Figure 3: The most common outcomes for online shopping scam victims across APAC

Moreover, more than 66% of respondents in India trust the security measures by online retailers completely. 23% even also indicated that they would continue shopping at an online retailer even after a data breach, regardless of the security status thereafter.

To protect themselves from scams, consumers should take precautions when shopping online. Fortunately, more than 92% of surveyed respondents take some form of precaution when shopping online, with checking for product/seller reviews being the most popular method of assessing a retailer’s legitimacy.

Children are vulnerable and need guidance in an increasingly digital world
With the pandemic resulting in a hybrid model of learning, children’s risk exposure via devices and through various online platforms offering services ranging from collaboration, online learning and video streaming to online games and social media is growing. This puts them at greater risk of encountering online threats, and it is important to teach children the essential skills to remain safe while navigating in an online environment.

The survey revealed that 78% of respondents who are parents from India have never spoken to their children about cybersecurity, and this remains significantly high in the region – over three out of four (77%) respondents across APAC have never spoken to their children about the issue. To ensure that minors are protected in the digital world, parents should have a hand in demonstrating the threats that the online world poses. 21% of parents from India also said that their children have been exposed to inappropriate content online.

Figure 4: The number of respondents who said they have never spoken to their children about cybersecurity

Most parents (94%) in India did take actions to ensure their children’s online safety. Popular methods include using parental control applications (36%), checking their children’s internet browser history (31%), and limiting the amount of time their children spend online (28%).

For guides and tips on how to keep kids safe on the internet, please visit ESET’s Safer Kids Online at https://saferkidsonline.eset.com/