Most Internet users consider online communication channels to be unreliable, but still use them regularly, including to discuss private topics.
This is according to a joint survey by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, which found that users consider photo messengers to be the most unreliable online communication tool: 67% of respondents in South Africa do not view them as secure, 56% do not trust mobile (including social) instant messengers, 60% do not trust online VoIP calls, and 54% do not trust video chat services.
At the same time, respondents cited social media messengers (47%), mobile messengers (58%) and e-mail (54%) as the top three most frequently used tools for online communications.
Interestingly, men make voice calls via the Internet more often than women (17% versus 14% globally), while women use social networks more often (41% versus 35% globally). According to the respondents, these communication tools are not only used at home but also in public places – in the office and while travelling.
Moreover, 17% of those polled globally said they had shared sensitive photos or video clips via electronic communication tools at least once. This was more often the case for men (21%) than for women (13%). The younger the user, the more often they send files of a personal nature over the web – the largest proportion of respondents (23%) who said they did so was in the 24 or younger age group.
These findings are confirmed by the results of a cyber savviness quiz in which 35% said they exchanged private information via any apps available to them. Another 13% went even further, saying they were ready to use any available device to do so (11% of women versus 15% of men and nearly 18% of young users). Only 28% said they did not discuss personal issues online (31% of women versus 26% of men and only 17% of users aged up to 24).
“Naturally, we do not advocate that people should stop using online messengers,” comments Peter Aleshkin, head of consumer marketing: Emerging Markets at Kaspersky Lab. “However, caution is needed when sending information via the Internet. For instance, you shouldn’t discuss highly confidential topics on web pages, because the Internet remembers everything, nor should you connect to communication channels that are known to be unsecure, such as a public WiFi network, because information may be intercepted.
“It is also important that users are careful when choosing online tools for personal communication, and only use a device reliably protected by a password and an Internet security solution.”