OLX 2020 Internet Behaviour Study reveals over 50% of Indian netizens neglect basic cyber safety practices

On the back of Safer Internet Day on 11th February 2020 celebrated globally, OLX studied the behaviour of close to 7500 netizens between the age groups of 18-55 to understand the state of awareness and cyber safety preparedness, thereby raising the need towards creating a safer and inclusive internet for everyone. The survey reveals a startling gap in digital literacy and cyber safety practices exercised by the netizens. The second edition (1st edition was launched in Feb 2019) of the annual report titled ‘OLX 2020 Internet Behaviour Study‘ is an initiative by OLX to foster awareness around making the internet a better place for everyone.

Lavanya Chandan, General Counsel, OLX India, said, “Safer Internet Day provides us with an opportunity to examine our online behaviour and emphasises upon the need to close the gap in digital literacy in general and cyber safety particularly. Cyber safety is a shared responsibility where internet users, internet companies, government and decision-makers are all in one ecosystem. This study has been devised to study these gaps in order to address the same in the coming time. Safeguarding ourselves and ensuring that we focus on making the internet an inclusive place for all is our foremost vision and we aim to drive continuous conversations around the topic. At OLX, it has been our continuous endeavour to advocate the cause of cyber safety into the mainstream consciousness and provide netizens with the right tools to safeguard their online presence.”

Overall, the survey indicates that even though we have come far in digital transformation in our daily lives, the majority of people in India prefer to transact offline and even if they do transact online, they do it for money transfer, online shopping and paying utility bills. Only 48% of the people surveyed would want to report the fraud if they were defrauded and they accept having missed exercising basic precautionary measures like not sharing personal and confidential information publicly or reading safety privacy tips and terms on websites and apps. The findings in 2020 are akin to the similarly alarming findings in 2019. Last year, 57 per cent of respondents show negligence towards their own safety – both online and offline, while 60 per cent admit to not monitoring the content their kids view online.

Key Insights

52% of respondents have publicly shared their phone numbers/personal addresses online while 26% have admitted to sharing sensitive OTP’s (one-time passwords) with others. The remaining 22% of respondents admit to sharing bank account passwords, UPI pin, credit & debit card details with others.

73% of respondents said they actively skipped the terms & conditions/safety-legal guidelines owing to the fact they were cumbersome to read and too complex to understand. This figure was 67% in 2019. Only 27% admitted to actively reading them prior to signing up for online platforms or services.

While 61% of respondents transact online more than 5 times a month primarily for money transfer and online shopping, only 37% admitted to frequently changing their online banking passwords regularly. Of these, almost a third said they cannot even recall how long it had been since they had last changed their banking account passwords.

Unsurprisingly, 66% of these respondents have been victims of online financial frauds with spamming and phishing attacks combined together to form a trio of the most common forms of online frauds faced by netizens in India. Apprehension towards dealing with the hassles of filing a complaint with law enforcement authorities led to 52% of respondents not filing a complaint at all.

While online payments have gained mainstream popularity, yet 51% of respondents expressed confidence in making payments offline vs using any digital means(mobile wallets, cards, UPI).

Most common types of new-age online frauds perpetrated by cyber fraudsters are

  • UPI fraud – The UPI platform is used by fraudsters to trick netizens into sending money to them instead of receiving payment. This kind of fraud is prevalent mostly across digital payment platforms.
  • QR code scan fraud – A payment QR code is used by fraudsters to trick netizens into sending money to them instead of receiving payment. Fraudsters usually crop out the account identifier details from the QR Code or tend to mislead netizens about the same while perpetrating this fraud.
  • Social engineering frauds – Sellers gain the trust of the buyer by providing spurious identification documents/sounding extremely convincing via persuasive techniques and soliciting payment in advance

Contradictory to this overall neglect that netizens show towards cyber safety measures, there exists a high level of cybersafety awareness towards certain internet behaviours.

  • 72% were cognizant of the fact that conducting banking transactions over unsecured WiFi networks could jeopardize their own safety.
  • Admitting the inevitable need for public and private institutions to work jointly in safeguarding the netizens, 50% of the respondents listed collaboration between public & private institutions, a better approach by the law enforcement authorities towards affected complainants and better user education as a remedy to the malaise of cyber fraud.
  • In 2019, 60% parents admitted to not supervising the content their kids viewed online while in 2020, 66% parents actively monitored their kids internet access.

Key insights from the metro and non-metro cities

  • The study also captured insights on internet usage behaviour across leading metros and non-metros in India. Here are some of the key findings
  • 70% of the respondents across metros & non-metros were millennials aged between 18-35 while 30% of the respondents were non-millennials aged 35+
  • While there exists a rising level of adoption for digital payment instruments with 61% of respondents across metros and non-metros making online payments more than 5 times a month yet 51% of respondents feel more comfortable transacting offline than online.
  • Respondents from metro cities are more likely to share their personal details online vs their non-metro counterparts. This could be owing to the fact that while internet adoption is widespread across metro cities, non-metro cities are catching up to their metro counterparts. Sharing personal financial details is also more prevalent in metro cities than non-metros owing to the higher penetration of credit/debit cards in the metros.
  • Low levels of awareness towards responsible usage of open, public and unsecured WiFi networks is reflected more prominently in non-metros than metros. 67% of respondents in the metro cities were wary of conducting financial transactions on public WiFi networks while the figure for non-metros was 59%.

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