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Online security is a subject of inequalities. The Demographics of Cybercrime report shows that people don’t feel safe online. For some, these feelings are amplified by real-life experiences. The internet is a place that most people consider anonymous. Your gender, age and race can all be hidden if you don’t make it public. New research shows that inequalities still exist online, and it all has to do cybersecurity. The Demographics of Cybercrime* shows that people don’t feel safe or secure online. For some, these feelings are amplified by real-life experiences.
Malwarebytes presented the report in partnership with Digitunity (a nationally recognized non profit dedicated to eliminating technology gaps) and Cybercrime Support network, whose non-profit mission it is to support individuals and small businesses affected by cybercrime across the country.
Cybersecurity research typically shows cybercrime’s prevalence, new ways that bad actors are hacking systems to secure personally identifiable data (PII), as well as how businesses are being affected. This new research offers a fresh perspective, focusing on end-users’ feelings of security and safety. This demographics-based approach shows how Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) and youth feel about online experiences. It’s definitely a wakeup call for IT industry.
Women feel less secure online
The report found that only 37% of women feel secure online, and 26% feel that their information is kept private. These figures compare to 49% of men feeling safe online and 32% feeling privacy online. Why is this? The report doesn’t provide a conclusive conclusion but it does show that 46% women have had their social networks hacked (compared with 37% for men) and that 16% of women who have suffered identity theft have also experienced physical theft of their wallet or purse–twice as often as men. Cyber Civil Rights Initiative reports that women are more likely to be victims of non-consensual pornography (also known as revenge porn), and more likely to be stalked, including cyberstalking.
The report reveals a blurring of the real-life experiences of a person and their online experiences, pointing out that they are not separate.
Report More Online Harassment of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC).
BIPOC respondents felt less secure than White people, with 38% of BIPOC users feeling “very safe” or “somewhat safe” online, compared to 44% of white users. However, these numbers are even higher when it comes to online privacy. 29% of white consumers feel their online information is secure and 28% of BIPOC users feel the same. It begs the question: What is it that makes people feel this way?
Although the Demographics of Cybercrime report didn’t specifically address online harassment it did point to a Pew Research Center 2017 survey that showed 1 in 4 Black Americans experienced online harassment because of their race or ethnicity. Further, 59% of Black internet users experienced some form of harassment, compared to 48% of Hispanic users, and 41% for white users. The Anti-Defamation League released another survey this year that showed an increase in online harassment of Asian-Americans. It went from 11% to 17% within a year.
Is it too far to draw a distinction between online harassment and not feeling safe or secure online? What can IT professionals do to change this?
Online access is vital for daily activities. The data presented is a clear call for action to go deeper as the tech industry works to address its diversity and equity and inclusion (DEI), challenges and execute on DEI statements. Imagine the impact of leaders working together in order to increase awareness and security online for everyone. We can close the gap not only for vulnerable groups, but also for society as a whole.
Younger Generations Feel Responsible for Their Online Security
Surprisingly, the report found that younger generations feel less secure online than older generations. Only 26% of 18-to-34-year-olds believe their online information is secure. Although this generation is most technologically savvy than any other, it doesn’t always mean security.
Younger generations are more likely than older generations to solve a tech problem on their own. Respondents who claimed they were the victims of hacking on their “email or other account” such as Netflix, bank logins, and so forth.

By Delilah