8% of Maltese internet users have been infected by ransomware

Nearly 10% of Maltese internet users have been asked for payment to get back control of their device at least once in the past three years 

36% of Maltese respondents have received fraudulent emails or phone calls asking them for their personal details
36% of Maltese respondents have received fraudulent emails or phone calls asking them for their personal details

Nearly 10% of Maltese internet users have been asked for payment to get back control of their device at least once in the past three years – compared to just 1% of respondents in all EU member states.

Half of the Maltese victims of this cybercrime reported being asked for such illicit payments more than once.

This emerges from a Eurobarometer survey, which also shows a higher rate of virus and malware exposure amongst the Maltese. While only 16% of respondents in all EU 28 member states had discovered malicious software on their device the percentage raises to 28% in Malta.

Ransomware is a type of malware that demands money with menaces: by taking control of your PC, demanding payments to get it back. Immediately disconnecting your PC from the Internet, reformatting the hard drive, and reinstalling everything from a backup can defeat most ransomware. The problem can be resolved by clicking the “Restore factory settings” option.

36% of Maltese respondents have received fraudulent emails or phone calls asking them for their personal details. 16% experienced this kind of fraud more than three times in as many years.

8% have also reported being victims of online banking fraud compared to just 2% of respondents in all EU member states.

7% of Maltese respondents in the survey have reported a cybercrime to the police, according to the Europe-wide survey. The same survey shows that 4% of respondents in all EU member states did likewise.

The survey also shows that 45% of Maltese internet users have installed anti-virus software compared to 42% of respondents in all member states. 42% of the Maltese only use their own computer compared to only 32% of all European respondents.

Profile of online users

The survey shows that Malta has one of the highest percentages of people not connected to the Internet.

Greece and Malta (both 8%), Portugal (7%) and Bulgaria (6%) are the only countries where more than one in twenty say they do not use the internet.

A further 17% of the Maltese do not use the internet, 3% do so often or sometimes and 72% do so on a daily basis. The most avid internet users in Europe are the Dutch, 96% of whom use internet on a daily basis. On the opposite end only 61% of Romanians use the internet daily.

The survey also shows a 7-point increase in the percentage of Maltese who accessed the internet with a smartphone over 2018. The percentage of Maltese who access the internet through their phone has now reached 85%. The percentage of those who access the internet through their personal computer has decreased by three points, from 75% in 2018 to 72% now. 49% access the internet from their tablet, 18% from their TV and 8% from their game console.

The survey shows that the Maltese are more likely to use the internet to assess social networks and instant messaging than other Europeans but are less likely to use it for banking services or for e-commerce.

  Malta EU28
Received fraudulent emails or phone calls  36% 31%
Discovered a virus on device    28% 16%
Had social media account or email hacked        11% 7%
Asked for payment to get back control of device    8% 1%
Was a victim of bank card or online banking fraud  8% 25
Impersonated by someone who stole personal data 6% 4%
Accidentally encountered child abuse material  6% 3

Online activities in which respondents engaged in past 12 months

  Malta EU28
Email 70% 80%
Social networks 74% 62%
Read news 58% 62%
Bank online 52% 61%
Buying goods 50% 55%
Instant messaging 56% 51%
Entertainment 47% 40%
Assessing public services  37% 36%
Gaming 31% 25%
Sells 18% 22%

 

 

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