Despite various cyber threats, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic propelled more people to opt for online shopping with 68.1 per cent Indians confirming an increase in their online shopping activity this year, revealed the latest McAfee report on '2020 Holiday Season
"With consumers of all ages shopping online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half (68.1 per cent) have reported an uptick since the start of the pandemic. Therefore, it's no surprise that cyber-attacks are on the rise as well. More people have been connecting and shopping online this year - for both themselves, for family and friends. Close to one in three (29.5 per cent) Indians are shopping online 3-5 days a week and 15.7 per cent are shopping every day," revealed the McAfee report.
The report highlighted that over half (53.3 per cent) of Indians feel cyber scams are more prevalent during the holiday season yet, 42.3 per cent of Indians were planning to do more of their holiday shopping online. Consumers are not adequately safeguarding themselves online, considering only a quarter (27.5 per cent) Indians are using online security solutions.
"Shopping behaviors continue to evolve, with consumers skipping in-store purchases to a great extent and shifting a bulk of their festive purchases online. In a bid to avail the best holiday deals and discounts, consumers open themselves up to risks on malicious websites, falling prey to phishing attacks through spam mails that are weaponised. Often, they carelessly give away personal information online that is then misused by cybercriminals for their nefarious gains." said Venkat Krishnapur, Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director, McAfee India.
McAfee's survey indicated that a whopping USD 4.1 billion of e-commerce sales transactions were recorded in the first week of 2020 after the festive season, compared to USD 2.7 billion in 2019.
"It becomes even easier for cybercriminals to take advantage of innocent users, considering only 27.5% of online buyers use online security solutions. With cybercriminals looking to take advantage of this surge in online transactions, it is crucial that users stay mindful of potential risks and undertake necessary steps to protect themselves and their families this holiday season," he added.
McAfee's Advanced Threat Research team recently found evidence that online cybercrime continued to increase, with McAfee Labs observing 419 threats per minute in the second quarter of 2020, with an increase of almost 12 per cent over the previous quarter.
McAfee commissioned 3Gem to conduct a survey of 1,000 adults over the age of 18 in India between October 9-19, 2020.
"This juxtaposition of increased online activity from both consumers and cybercriminals serves as the perfect catalyst for malicious misdeeds, especially as 32.1 per cent of consumers note that while they are aware of cyber risks, they have no plans to change their online buying habits. This less-than-cautious approach is further seen when respondents are offered deals or discounts, with only 23.8 per cent of them sometimes checking to festive sales deals sent via email or text emails are authentic and trustworthy," the report suggested.
McAfee's research revealed greater awareness and proactivity was needed from consumers when it comes to protecting themselves online. Consumers need to take initiative to protect their devices, actions, and identities, from online criminals.
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