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Bengaluru, NFAPost: Leading security solution company McAfee Corp. has come up with its findings from ‘2020 Holiday Season: State of Today’s Digital e-Shopper India survey, stating that even though consumers are aware of the spike in online shopping risks and scams, there is still greater momentum from their part to shop more online during the festive season.

According to McAfee’s survey Indian consumers have shifted direction due to global events this year, opening themselves to more online threats as they live, work, play, and buy all through their devices.

Consumers of all ages are shopping online more due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with more than half (68.1%) reporting an uptick since COVID-19 started. This trend will also likely go up during the holiday season, with almost half (42.3%) planning on increasing their online shopping activity over the festive period.

Threat research

A whopping $4.1 billion ecommerce sales transaction was recorded in the first week of 2020 after the festive season, compared to $2.7 billion in 2019. This reveals more people have been connecting and shopping online this year – for both themselves, for family and friends. Close to one in three (29.5%) of Indians are shopping online 3-5 days a week and 15.7% are shopping every day.

McAfee’s Advanced Threat Research team recently found evidence that online cybercrime continues to increase, with McAfee Labs observing 419 threats per minute in Q2 2020, an increase of almost 12% over the previous quarter. With activity set to rise from both consumers and criminals, there is an added concern of whether consumers are taking security threats as seriously as they should – with key differences seen across generational groups:

·        79.7% of those 65+ in age believe there is a greater cyber risk due to COVID-19 while even more (81%) of those 18-24 state the same

·        A quarter (25.1%) of 18-24-year olds don’t think about their online activity as it relates to cyber-crime, whilst almost 4 in 10 (37.6%) 45-54 year olds are aware, but it does not impact their online activity

Expressing his opinion on the report, McAfee India Vice President of Engineering and Managing Director Venkat Krishnapur says shopping behaviors continue to evolve, with consumers skipping in-store purchases to a great extent and shifting a bulk of their festive purchases online.

Malicious website

“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. It becomes even easier for cybercriminals to take advantage of innocent users, considering only 27.5% of online buyers use online security solutions,” said Venkat Krishnapur.

With cybercriminals looking to take advantage of this surge in online transactions, he also highlighted the point that it is crucial that users stay mindful of potential risks and undertake necessary steps to protect themselves and their families this holiday season.

This juxtaposition of increased online activity from both consumers and cybercriminals serves as the perfect catalyst for malicious misdeeds, especially as 32.1% of consumers note that while they are aware of cyber risks, they have no plans to change their online buying habits.

Trustworthy

This less-than-cautious approach is further seen when respondents are offered deals or discounts, with only 23.8% of respondents sometimes checking to festive sales deals sent via email or text emails are authentic and trustworthy.

McAfee’s research reveals greater awareness and proactivity is 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. In order to stay safe this holiday season, McAfee advises:

  • Employ multi-factor authentication to double check the authenticity of digital users and add an additional layer of security to protect personal data and information.
  • Browse with caution and add security using a tool like McAfee WebAdvisor to block malware and phishing sites via malicious links.
  • Protect identity and important personal and financial details using McAfee Identity Theft Protection, which also includes recovery tools, should users’ identity be compromised.

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