Eurobarometer Cyber Security Survey reveals dangerous overconfidence

Last week, the European Commission released its third annual Eurobarometer Cyber Security Survey. Over 27,000 respondents from 28 countries participated in the survey, revealing a substantial disparity between where people think they stand on cyber-security and where they actually are in terms of preparedness and ability to cope with cyber-crime.

With the continued increase of internet usage, especially via mobile devices, the two most common concerns  are the misuse of personal data and the security of online payments. Some 47 percent of respondents believe themselves to be well informed on cyber-crime (a three percent increase from last year). In demonstration of this awareness, 89 percent of respondents claim to avoid giving personal information on line, 85 percent believe that cyber-crime is increasing and two-thirds are concerned about the security of their personal information via websites and public authorities.

However, despite this apparent “awareness” of security risks and dangers, almost 90 percent of UK respondents believe that they are able to protect themselves from cyber-crime. “Computers and network security are complex matters” security experts, Julio Hernandez-Castro and Eerke Boiten wrote on their blog, pointing out that the average person's understanding of them “is at best incomplete and at worst practically absent.”  This data shows “how unrealistic and dangerous” overconfidence can be, especially when it comes to highly technical entities such as information security and cyber-crime.