Women and BAME individuals are hardest hit by cyber crime

Malwarebytes calls on the technology industry to do more to provide secure internet access to everyone

Women, black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) individuals are more likely to be affected by cyber crime, causing “substantial” stress as well as financial loss.

That's according to a new report from Malwarebytes, which surveyed more than 5,000 people across the UK, US, and Germany.

According to its findings, 48% of people don’t feel private online and 28% do not feel safe, with this number rising to 36% for BAME respondents in the UK.

Similarly, women were more likely to feel unsafe online, with 35% admitting to feeling so, compared to 27% of men and were also more likely to have their social media accounts hacked, with 46% having fallen victim to the crime, compared to 37% of men.

Financial loss related to cyber crime was most likely to affect BAME individuals, having been experienced by more than half (53%) of respondents — the highest percentage of all demographics considered by Malwarebytes’ survey.

Unsurprisingly, these experiences can affect the victim’s wellbeing: 21% of women and 23% of BAME respondents admitted to having experienced “substantial” stress as a result of dealing with suspicious online activity, compared to 17% of all respondents. The survey also found that cyber crime is ever-present, with not a single respondent being able to avoid suspicious online activities.

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Malwarebytes CEO Marcin Kleczynski said that “the disparity between populations feeling safe online and the emotional impact of threats on already vulnerable communities is unacceptable”.

“Understanding the impact that cybercrime has on vulnerable people (or populations), particularly women and minorities, across the world is critical as online access becomes essential to modern life.  As an industry, we need to work together to make safe internet access available to everyone,” he added.

Commenting on the findings, Robert Burda, interim CEO of Cybercrime Support Network, a non-profit organisation that supports victims of cyber crime, said that the digital world has an increasing effect on our private lives:

“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 programmes and resources that meet people where they are,” he added.

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