McAfee survey reveals Spiders are top phobia, but Cybercriminals in at Number 6!


Spiders top the list of Brits’ top phobias, while hackers make a surprising entry in sixth place, according to a new survey carried out by security firm McAfee. 

The main reason people gave for having fears and phobias was that it could cause pain or death (28%). Yet 15% of respondents put spiders as their number one fear factor, despite there being less than a one-in-a-million chance of being bitten badly enough by a spider to warrant going to a hospital in the UK! 

In contrast, the fear of hackers primarily stems from the high risk of it happening. Almost half (45%) of those surveyed said they, or someone they know, has fallen victim to online fraud or hacking and this resulted in money being stolen from their account. On average, Brits reported having £725 stolen from their bank accounts.  

In their quest to profit from people, criminals are getting savvier in their digital attacks. McAfee’s Mobile Threat Report 2019 revealed a high rise in banking Trojans, for example, which are a form of malware that infects devices and collects online banking details from the infected smartphone, tablet or laptop.  

However, the British public are wising up to this risk with three-quarters of people (76%) saying cybersecurity is either a growing or high concern. And one in five Brits (23%) said getting hacked or being tracked by the government and businesses is something they worry about on a daily basis. Their primary concern is that bank details will be stolen (53%). This is closely followed by concerns around login details being stolen for online services, where payment information is stored (40%).  

Men were more concerned about data-related incidents than women, with a quarter (26%) of men stating that data breaches and tracking are a daily concern, compared with 17% or women. For all, media reports of data leaks spur this concern and anxiety. 

Meanwhile, one in five (21%) people said they are worried they will do something at work that will result in a data security breach or click on a dodgy link that will infect their corporate systems. On a bigger scale, half of Brits (50%) believe a cyber-war is happening right now but we just don’t know about it. And a quarter (25%) believe cyber warfare is the biggest threat to our nation.  

Says Chief Scientist and McAfee Fellow, Raj Samani: “In their quest for profit, criminals are constantly shifting their tactics and adapting to a changing mobile market. We’ve seen a huge increase in backdoors, fake apps and banking Trojans. Hidden apps are being exploited as quickly as app stores can take them down.  

“These threats target thousands, if not millions, of people every single day and the British public is right to be concerned about the cybersecurity threats they face. But there’s no need to panic. There are simple steps people can take to keep their data safe, across all devices.”   

Brits’ Top 10 fears and phobias:

1.     Spiders  

2.     Heights  

3.     Snakes  

4.     The dentist  

5.     Small spaces  

6.     Hackers/cybercriminals  

7.     Flying  

8.     Dogs    

9.     Clowns  

10.  The dark  

5 top tips from McAfee to keep your financial data safe: 

1. Stop Autofill on Chrome

Malware is counting on the fact that you store financial data within your browser. To stop it in its tracks, head to your web browser account and make sure you remove all personal and financial information from autofill. You will have to type out this information each time you want to make a purchase, but your personal data will be better protected because of it. 

2. Change your passwords

Change up your existing login information to any online accounts. And, of course, make sure your new passwords are strong and complex. Using a password manager helps create and remember complex usernames and passwords for all online accounts, across devices. 

3. Think before you click

One of the easiest ways for a cybercriminal to compromise their victim is by using phishing emails to lure consumers into clicking links for products or services that could lead to malware, or a phoney website designed to steal personal information. If the deal seems too good to be true, or the email was not expected, it is always best to check directly with the source.  

4. Stay protected while you browse

It’s important to put the right security solutions in place in order to surf the web safely. Add an extra layer of security to your browser such as McAfee WebAdvisor. 

5. Always connect with caution. 

Public Wi-Fi might seem like a good idea, but if consumers are not careful, they could be unknowingly exposing personal information or credit card details to cybercriminals who are snooping on the network. If you have to conduct transactions on a public Wi-Fi connection use a virtual private network (VPN) to help keep your connection secure.  

Chris Price
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