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ESET Survey Finds 70% of Americans are Shopping More Online Than Before the Pandemic, Yet Only 38% Feel Very Secure When Doing So


Seventy-three percent believe they would be able to spot a fraudulent email imitating one of the online shops they regularly use

SAN DIEGO – January 21, 2021 – COVID-19 changed many consumers’ habits, particularly when it comes to being online. Nowhere was this more evident than the 2020 holiday shopping season, when online shopping increased 32.2% from the previous year. But with widespread deployment of a COVID-19 vaccine expected to happen over the next several months, will those habits change? And do users feel secure when they are online? ESET, a global leader in cybersecurity, asked these questions and more in a global survey released today.

The ESET Global FinTech Study examined the online shopping and cybersecurity habits of 2,000 consumers in the United States and 8,000 consumers across the UK, Australia, Japan, Mexico and Brazil, and found that 70 percent of Americans are shopping more online than they did before the pandemic, with 36% doing so “much more often” than before. Forty-four percent said they expected to do more online shopping post-pandemic; however, 17% expect to do less, while 32% say their habits will not change compared to their current ones.

With more people online, COVID-19 has also increased cyberattacks. In particular, looking at Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) – often employed by users working from home – ESET found a 37% increase in attacks since the pandemic began. As such, the ESET survey also looked at Americans’ attitudes toward cybersecurity and whether they believe they are secure online. Eighty-seven percent said they feel secure, with 38 percent saying they feel “very secure.” Among age groups, 18-24-year-olds feel the least secure, with 23% stating that they feel “not at all secure” or “not particularly secure.”

According to research by the Anti-Phishing Working Group, the number of phishing attacks has grown since March 2020. Yet despite this increase, 73% of Americans believe they would be able to spot a phishing emailing imitating one of the online shops they regularly use. In the 55+ age group, that number decreased, with 64% believing they would be able to spot a fraudulent email. As far as security measures, 17% said they have no antivirus software on their personal devices and an additional 28% only have the software on some of their devices. Experts recommend antivirus software as one measure in protecting against threats like ransomware and malware.

“Our lives were becoming increasingly digitized even before COVID-19 hit and now, as we begin to enter a new phase of the pandemic, consumers will likely maintain much of the online habits they became used to during the lockdown, particularly shopping online,” said Tony Anscombe, chief security evangelist at ESET. “With this continued reliability on using the internet for many of our daily routines, it is imperative that the devices and technologies we use to share our most sensitive information are protected to the highest standard and that people understand how to protect themselves.”

Online shopping and cybersecurity were two of the topics of the survey, which also asked respondents a series of questions on online banking, data security and privacy, and financial technology. The ESET Global FinTech Global Study seeks to examine a range of themes in relation to these experiences in online shopping and banking for both consumers and businesses in a post-COVID world. Additional findings will be released throughout Q1 of 2021.

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