The majority of internet users in Germany were affected by online crime in 2022. According to a representative survey by the digital association Bitkom, which is exclusively available to WELT AM SONNTAG, three out of four respondents had a similar experience that year.
"Anyone who moves on the Internet must expect to meet cyber criminals," says Bitkom CEO Bernhard Rohleder. Therefore, all online users should take protective measures. "This ranges from using secure passwords to installing virus protection software and passing on personal information sparingly," says Rohleder.
In recent years, the reach of cybercrime has increased dramatically. While in 2022 only 22 percent stated that they had not had such an experience, in 2019 it was still 40 percent and in 2020 at least one in three. According to their own statements, only 21 percent would be spared from cybercrime by 2021.
The range is large. Almost every second user reports that personal data has been passed on without being asked. Almost 30 percent experienced fraud when shopping online and 13 percent in financial transactions such as internet banking. Computer viruses also continue to find their victims: a good quarter of those surveyed are affected, and this applies to 17 percent on smartphones.
Three percent have experienced identity theft – when criminals impersonate themselves online. According to the survey, however, private experiences with so-called ransomware are the exception. This is malware that attackers use to take control of computers and networks and encrypt files in order to extort a ransom from those affected if the encryption is to be reversed. Only one in 100 computer users reports such an attack, twice as often on smartphones.
According to the survey, not even one in five victims of cybercrime filed a criminal complaint with the police. A third of those affected did not even react to the incidents at all, and at least half sought to talk to friends and acquaintances. "Anyone who becomes a victim of a crime should report it," says Bitkom. This is often also possible online.
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