One in Two Cypriots Say Safe from Cybercrime, But Worries Persist

In this May 12, 2017 photo, a display panel with an error can be seen at the main railway station in Chemnitz, Germany. (P. Goezelt/dpa via AP)

NICOSIA – It’s nearly a split decision but 52 percent of Cypriots say they know how to protect themselves from cybercrime and being hacked, at a time when major businesses, banks and governments are suffering data breaches.
That was the finding of a survey from Eurobarometer released by European Commission which covered the bloc’s 28 countries and also found that 51 percent of Cypriots say they are well informed about cybercrime protection.

That’s close to the European average of 52 percent, up from 46 per cent in 2017, said Kathimerini of the findings that also showed, however, that Europeans are increasingly worried about being hacked or staying safe online with people more and more turning to VPN’s and other protective measures for banking, email and retail transactions.

Only 59 percent of Europeans think they can protect themselves online, down from 71 percent in 2017 as hackers get more sophisticated, with Internet users especially concerned about misuse of their personal data, fraud, being locked out of their computer and forced to pay ransom to access their own data, as well as about identity theft.

Some 23 percent of Cypriots said they’ve gotten fraudulent emails from phishers or phone calls seeking personal details in the last three years and 5 percent were victims of malware, while 14 percent had social media or email accounts hacked.

Another 26 percent said they experienced virus attacks, 12 percent were unwillingly directed to extremist websites, 12 percent ordered goods online which never arrived, 5 percent had been the victim of identity theft, and 6 percent had been unwillingly exposed to child pornography.

Cybercrime worry has grown so much that more people are unwilling to shop online, with 10 percent of people saying they won’t ever.

“We need to do more to raise awareness about threats and about ways to stay safe online, but we cannot stop at prevention alone. We need to close the growing gap between capabilities of criminals and those of law enforcement authorities. This will be one of the priorities in our new way forward on internal security,” Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said.

The survey was conducted through personal interviews between Oct. 8-10, 2019  and included 506 Cypriots among 27,607 surveyed across the bloc.