Internet users concerned about online risks

  • Most users worried about misuse and fraud via the internet
  • Mainly misuse of private information
  • Spam and viruses affect many users
  • Most users do not back up computer files

In the spring of 2010, 12 million people aged 12 to 75 years in the Netherlands said they regularly went online. Nearly 7 out of 8 internet users were concerned about the risks of using the internet. According to figures released today by Statistics Netherlands, three-quarters of users are mainly concerned about misuse of personal data or financial fraud, while two-thirds are worried about viruses and spam.

Over two-thirds of Dutch internet users are worried about people making misuse of their personal data or breaching their privacy, for example by using photo’s and images without permission. Just over half are worried about financial loss such as credit and debit card fraud and phishing, a practice involving sending false messages and creating fake websites to acquire log-in codes, etc.

In 2010, 8 percent of internet users interviewed for the survey said they had actually experienced misuse of personal data or financial fraud in the previous twelve months. Five percent of users, for example, reported that their personal data had been misused. Two and one percent respectively had lost money as a result of phishing and debit/credit card fraud.

In addition to suffering financial loss, many users say viruses and spam are also a nuisance. In 2010 more than 7 out of 10 internet users have been affected by a virus and/or spam. Spam was the most common, but a considerable number have also been infected by a computer virus.

Although many internet users are worried about the risks of using the internet, only 30 percent of users regularly back up their files. More than 4 in 10 hardly ever or never back up their computer files. Nearly all internet users have installed software to protect their computers from viruses and/or spam.