Research from Malwarebytes and the Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network has found that women and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals across the UK, US and Germany are disproportionally affected by cyber crime
Attacks via text messages and social media hackings were among the types of cyber crime explored in the study.
“The Demographics of Cybercrime” report detailed how consumers experience cyber crime worldwide, while demonstrating that it does not impact everyone equally, being likely to make larger impacts on marginalised groups.
Overall analysis of data in the report suggests that disadvantaged groups facing barriers in society feel less safe about online experiences, are more likely to fall victim to an attack, and occasionally report experiencing a heavier emotional burden when responding to cyber attacks.
More women were found to receive text messages from unknown numbers that include potentially malicious links than men (79% compared to 73%), while more BAME respondents experienced hacked social media accounts than white people (45% vs 40%).
Additionally, 21% of BAME participants said they faced instances of identity theft, compared to 15% of white respondents.
In terms of age, meanwhile, the survey’s results show that the likelihood of having credit card data stolen increased in line with age, with those aged 65 and over more impacted than any other age group.
As digital connections grow and evolve globally, cyber threats will continue to advance, and are set to become even more dangerous for under-resourced communities.
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“Understanding the impact that cyber crime has on vulnerable people (or populations), particularly women and minorities, across the world is critical as online access becomes essential to modern life,” said Marcin Kleczynski, CEO of Malwarebytes.
“The disparity between populations feeling safe online and the emotional impact of threats on already vulnerable communities is unacceptable.
“The work Digitunity and Cybercrime Support Network are doing to educate and empower communities cannot be understated. As an industry, we need to work together to make safe internet access available to everyone, regardless of income or their ability to pay.”
Scot Henley, executive director of Digitunity, commented: “New adopters of technology, particularly those who may have been on the wrong side of the digital divide, are disproportionately more vulnerable to online threats and bad actors.
“Through our partnership with Malwarebytes, tens of thousands of devices made available to low-income families will be loaded with robust antivirus and antimalware protection. Having this critical layer of security will go a long way to ensure adoption and success.”
Robert Burda, interim CEO of Cybercrime Support Network, added: “As technology and internet accessibility become more entwined in our day-to-day routines, our financial and emotional lives are more significantly impacted by cyber crime.
“With a greater understanding of how the digital world impacts disadvantaged communities, we can provide better programs and resources that meet people where they are.”
5,000 respondents from across the UK, US and Germany were surveyed for “The Demographics of Cybercrime” report. More information about the findings can be found here.