Oct 17, 2016
- Sixth Deutsche Telekom Security Report reveals growing concerns
- Majority underestimate risk for smartphones
- Use of encryption must improve
Fear of terrorist attacks has now found its way into the cyber world. Two thirds of the population believe there is a great or very great risk that state bodies and critical infrastructure in Germany will fall victim to attacks over the Internet. These are the findings of a survey conducted on behalf of Deutsche Telekom by the Allensbach Institute and the Centrum für Strategie und Höhere Führung (Center for Strategy and Higher Leadership). Telekom publishes its findings today in the 2016 Security Report: Population (in German only).
Not since the first survey was conducted in 2011 have the population been as concerned about their safety as they are today. As part of the report, Allensbach calculates a risk index to reflect the current mood. This year, it rose to 491 points from 474 points in 2015, exceeding the 2013 high of 489 points in the process. The abrupt rise in fears of terrorist attacks is particularly evident. In 2015, 28 percent of respondents were very worried about terrorist attacks. Today, this figure is 45 percent.
Alongside gaging the general sense of security among people in Germany, the 2016 Security Report: Population looks at critical areas including how to protect smartphones against cyber attacks, private e-mail encryption, and cloud services.
Mindful use of smartphones
Although the percentage of people who own a smartphone has now risen to 66 percent, less than a third believe it is likely that their device will be attacked – thus underestimating the fact that smartphones are powerful pocket-sized computers and are increasingly subject to attacks. Despite this, the majority of smartphone users are careful with their devices or take steps to improve security. For example, around 83 percent will not open an attachment from an unknown sender, while 77 percent will not download data from suspicious looking sources. Almost one in three regularly installs operating system updates.
There is a clear difference between the security habits of older and younger smartphone users. For example, older smartphone users are more likely to avoid returning calls to unknown numbers and to deactivate certain functions such as mobile data, Bluetooth and GPS when not in use. In addition, they mostly only download and use apps that do not automatically access sensitive services such as Wi-Fi and GPS. A large portion of younger smartphone users update their operating systems regularly to close security gaps.
Only one in three encrypts e-mails
E-mail encryption is still not used as a widespread method of protecting confidential data. Although two thirds of people in Germany consider it important or even very important, only one third of users actually encrypt their private e-mails. Convenience is named as the main reason for failing to encrypt e-mails.
Cloud solutions have an image problem
One in three Internet users now stores data in the cloud. At the same time, more than half of users of cloud storage services regard these kinds of solutions as unsafe. However, German providers still enjoy more consumer confidence than their foreign competitors. One quarter of all respondents believe that data held by German providers is better protected than data held by American providers. Despite this, the three most-used cloud providers – Dropbox, Apple and Google – are U.S. companies.
Deutsche Telekom – still the most trustworthy company
When it comes to companies in the communication and Internet sectors that handle personal data, people still place by far the most trust in Deutsche Telekom. 47 percent regard the company as trustworthy. This figure has risen for the third time in succession and is now at its highest level since the surveys began.
The Allensbach Institute conducted almost 1,500 surveys for the 2016 Security Report: Population in the first half of August, using a representative cross-section of the population aged 16 and older. In late fall of this year, the 2016 Security Report: Decision-Makers will be published containing information on perceptions of security among executives at Deutsche Telekom, as well as politicians, and how they deal with the issue of cyber security.