Confusion about IT security leaves devices at risk

When it comes to Internet security, consumer concern and awareness are both on the increase. However, despite a growing recognition of the need to protect devices, many consumers are struggling to identify, install and use security software, according to Kaspersky Lab and B2B International.

The study, which questioned 11,819 people from over 27 countries, assessed cybersecurity trends amongst consumers in today’s rapidly-evolving, multi-device, connected world. It found that consumers are using more connected devices than ever before, with the average household now owning 8 connected devices.

The research shows that mobile devices have replaced desktops as the main device for going online and tablets are also losing out to smartphones. In fact, 57% now use a smartphone to mainly access the Internet in 2015, an increase from 45% in 2012.

Whilst analyzing connected device usage, the research also demonstrates that consumers are increasingly concerned about online threats. 54% of respondents worried about their own and their family’s online activity in 2013 and 2014, but this rose to 57% in 2015.

Whilst a reassuring 93% of those surveyed claim to have installed some kind of security software on their desktop Windows PC, the level of protection is significantly lower for tablets and smartphones.

Only 32% of iPad users have installed security on their device, rising to 65% for Android tablets and 83% for Windows tablets. In addition, a worrying 26% have installed security software on their iPhone, compared to 44% of Windows Phone users and 60% of Android smartphone users.

When asked why they had chosen not to install antivirus or Internet security software, consumers listed reasons that revealed widespread misperceptions and confusion, highlighting a lack of cyber-savviness amongst Internet users. 16% said they didn’t protect their connected devices because they assume that Internet security software will slow their computer down too much and 11% felt that software is too expensive.

A concerning 12% admitted they simply don’t know what software to install or where to get it from.

Overall, only 58% of respondents said they understand how to use Internet security software in 2015, down from 65% in 2013.

“Connected devices – particularly smartphones – are increasingly used to manage online activities and store essential and private information, making these devices attractive to thieves and cyber-attackers. As we continue to store more of our lives on multiple devices, it is vital that we take their security seriously. It is a shame that so many of today’s consumers say they struggle to find an appropriate Internet security solution,” said Elena Kharchenko, Head of Consumer Product Management, Kaspersky Lab.