A fair few warnings have been issued in recent years reminding South Africans to be vigilant and careful about the information they share about themselves on the internet, and a new study has found that locals are not doing enough to safeguard themselves online.

The study was commissioned by Google and conducted by YouGov, and observed the online habits and practices of more than a thousand internet users across South Africa between December 2018 and January 2019.

The report also shows that 53% of the respondents have received phishing emails from unscrupulous sources – fraudulent emails used to unlawfully gain access to victims’ personal information, including banking details and passwords.

A further 24% of South African web-users admitted to falling victim to online scams and paying for a product or service that simply does not exist.

Other findings the study reveals:

– only 65% of South Africans are concerned about protecting their banking details online

– 28% of the respondents have had someone gain unauthorised access to their social media or email account

– 43% of South Africa’s internet users have the same password for most of their online services

– 11% of the respondents have no recovery cellphone number or email address for their online accounts

“This research shows that South Africans are well aware of the dangers that present themselves online, yet so few are proactively using tools available to protect them from online predators,” Fortune Mgwili-Sibanda, who heads up Public Policy and Government Relations at Google South Africa, said to BusinessTech. “This Safer Internet Day, we want to encourage South Africans to take their online safety more seriously and educate themselves on the tools available out there.”

Picture: Pixabay

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