The ‘Cyber Security’ report (July, 2012) published by the European Commission was part of the Special Eurobarometer public opinion survey carried out in March 2012. The European Commission has recently proposed to establish a European Cybercrime Centre to help protect European citizens and businesses against increasing cyber-threats, thus also increasing e-consumers level of trust. The aim of the survey was to understand EU citizens’ internet usage patterns, experiences and perceptions of cyber security issues, including internet transactions, their awareness and experience of cybercrimes and the level of concern that they feel about this type of crime.
Slightly more than 40% of Maltese respondents claimed that they access the internet several times a day – which was in line with the overall EU countries internet usage patterns. Respondents were most likely to access the internet at home or work. It is also interesting to note that when compared to other EU countries, the Maltese were less likely to use the internet when on the move. The majority of respondents claimed that they use the internet for emails (89%), to read news online (74%), buy goods or services (including holidays, books, music and so on) (63%), use online social networks (68%) and for online banking (59%). When compared to other EU countries, Malta had one of the highest percentages of use of social networking sites.
Respondents were also asked to indicate how confident they felt about their ability to use the internet for online banking or shopping. Overall, the Maltese were more confident than other EU citizens. Furthermore, there were a higher percentage of Maltese respondents who indicated that they had no concerns when using the internet for online banking or shopping. The top concerns for Maltese internet users were that someone would take or misuse their personal data and the security of online payments. 27% of respondents indicated that in the last 12 months preceding the interview they had not seen or heard anything about cybercrime. On the other hand, the top most mentioned sources regarding cybercrime were from television (46%) and friends, family or colleagues (26%). Most respondents (59%) felt that they were well informed about the risks of cybercrime.
Slightly more than half of respondents said that they have received emails fraudulently asking for money and personal details. The proportion of internet users that said they had experienced online fraud (12% on average across the EU) was similar in most EU countries. However, Malta was amongst those countries that had the highest figure (16%) of respondents who experienced online fraud. Despite this, the proportion of respondents (21%) who said that they would contact no-one if they experienced or were a victim of cybercrime was high when compared to other EU countries.
European Commission, Eurobarometer Special Survey
Publication Reference No. 390: