identity theft tops indians security concerns unisys
Findings from the 2020 Unisys Security Index from Unisys Corporation reveal that India has the second-highest level of security concerns of the 15 countries surveyed. The Unisys Security Index score of 223 out of 300 signifies that Indians have a high level of security concern across the breadth of national, financial, internet and personal security covered by the survey, with identity theft emerging as the top security concern overall, with 83% of Indians seriously concerned about this issue.

Internet security concerns were a close second, with 82% of respondents seriously concerned about computer viruses and hacking and the security of online transactions. These findings reflect the growing internet penetration and use of digital services in the country as well as strong awareness of security risks in the personal and cyber space.

Clear Indications of the Impact of COVID-19 on India

The longest-running snapshot of consumer security concerns conducted globally, the Unisys Security Index also explored the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on Indians’ concerns. The survey revealed that family health is the number one priority during a pandemic like COVID-19, with 82% of Indians citing it as their top concern. The country’s economic stability and healthcare infrastructure were next in line and cited as key concerns by 80% of respondents, and 79% said they were seriously concerned about their personal physical health. Indians expressed the least concern about being scammed about/because of the pandemic (72%) or suffering a data breach while working from home (71%).

“The Unisys Security Index captures the pulse of security concerns in India. The good news is that there is widespread awareness of security risks in the personal and digital realm with 8 in 10 Indians concerned about identity theft, computer hacking and viruses, bankcard fraud and online transactions,” said Sumed Marwaha, managing director, Unisys India and regional vice president, Services, Unisys.

“However, the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the personal and professional lives of respondents is also evident – people are focused on their family’s health. They likely assume their employer will take care of securing data and systems in the ‘new normal’ of the work-from-home (WFH) environment. Therefore, employers must adopt a security strategy that treats people as their weakest link in security. They need to ensure their people have secure direct access to applications, are trained to identify and avoid malicious scams and phishing attacks designed to exploit the fears and distractions created by the pandemic and can quickly isolate devices or parts of the network to minimise the extend of a breach,” he added.

Seshadri PS, senior director, Office of the CISO, Unisys, added, “Cyberattacks in India soared by 86% during March and April 2020. It is hence not surprising to witness such a large section of respondents worried about internet security. The concerns around remote working point to the need to enable safe and secure access to corporate data and systems, given that the pandemic has forced most organizations to rapidly embrace remote working models. The impact of COVID-19 on other areas is also visible, pointing to the need for organizations to gear up for the new normal and provide safe and secure engagement platforms to their internal and external stakeholders.”

The global 2020 Unisys Security Index stands at 175 out of 300 points for the second year in a row. The index of 175 remains at the highest level in the 14 years that the Unisys Security Index has been conducted. While the overall security index remains the same (175 pts out of 300) as 2019, the 2020 results show an increase in personal security (+5 points) and national security (+5 points) concerns, and a drop in financial security (-4 points) and internet security (-8 points) concerns. For the fourth consecutive year, identity theft and bankcard fraud continue to be the two most pressing out of the eight security concerns measured by the index. Personal security concerns are at their highest level in 14 years, which is not surprising due to the COVID-19 situation.

“Personal security concerns are at an all-time high across the globe. These concerns are also relevant to the travel and transportation industry, especially the aviation sector. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that airlines across the world are expected to lose USD 84.3 billion in 2020. While the losses incurred are significant, the best way forward for airlines and airports in the post-COVID world is to adopt passenger safety measures using a combination of processes and technology. There are multiple technology options available today like contactless passenger processing, health and hygiene tracking, queue management and cabin air quality management. However, airlines and airports have to fast-track these measures to stay relevant,” added Ajay Prabhakar, industry manager, Travel and Transportation, Unisys India.

Interestingly, security concerns are globally higher along female, under 35 years of age, lower-income and university-educated respondents. 2020 is the first year India has been included in the research.