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The Danes forget to protect themselves online

17-11-2015 News UK

The Danes do not protect sufficiently their confidential information when online. We tend to recycle passwords, store photos of our eID key card on our mobile phones, and forget to protect data on smartphones and tablets against attacks. That the conclusion on statistics from the Agency for Digitisation.

The Danes are increasingly subject to attacks on the internet by digital trick thieves who try to abuse their information. There has been an increase in recent years in both the number of hacker attacks and so-called phishing mails in which fraudsters try to trick unsuspecting internet users to reveal their username, password or credit card information.

"We want to help people become better at protecting themselves online. First of all, by telling them how to perform the necessary safety procedures to protect confidential information. But also by providing information on how to recognise the so-called phishing emails which intend to trick the recipient" says Cecile Christensen, Head of Division at the Agency for Digitisation. "It is important to be aware that a public authority, the eID provider, or your bank will never ask you to submit your eID key" says Cecile Christensen.

Reusing passwords
One problem is that 41% of Danes reuse passwords. It is especially true of the under-20s, of which 56% recycle passwords, while only 30% of people over 65 years use the same password for different services.

"Two of the most commonly used passwords are '123456' and 'password'. Generally one should try to create as much variation as possible between passwords. Young people have many logins for various network services and it can be difficult to remember all of them. But if, for example, you use the same password for Facebook and online banking you are taking a risk" says Cecile Christensen.

Smartphones represent great risk
Also image copies on the phone of the key card from NemID pose a significant security risk. The interest organisation of Danish banks, Danish Bankers Association, see an increased risk that bank customers have their accounts abused after having photographed and stored their key card from NemID on their phone.

"If anyone gains unauthorised access to your phone or tablet, on which you have stored a picture of your NemID key card, they can download your bank details or other sensitive data" says Deputy Director of Danish Bankers Association, Michael Busk Jepsen. He also says that particularly people aged 30-39 years tend to store their key card digitally.

According to figures from the Agency for Digitisation, one third of Danes do not protect their smartphones with security software. By comparison, seven percent do not protect their computer.

"Many users are living in false confidence that they are protected from viruses and hacking on tablets and phones. But threats to mobile platforms are a growing problem, which we must all be better at addressing in the future. Right now the Danes should be particularly aware of what we call "smishing" where users via a link in a text message on smartphones and tablets are tricked into giving confidential information to criminals "says Cecile Christensen.

Important advice:

  • Never store a picture on your phone of your NemID key card.
  • Keep the operating system and software updated.
  • Use security software (anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, etc.).
  • Be careful about opening attachments or links in unsolicited messages.
  • Use secure passwords of at least eight characters, preferably more. The codes must consist of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters.
  • Do not use the same password for different services.
  • Never follow links in emails that ask for confidential information.
  • Protect your mobile devices and wireless networks with a code.
  • If you use an unprotected wireless network, set the phone to forget it when you are done.