Internet users in Malta among those most likely to have caught a computer virus in 2015

One out of four internet users in the European Union experienced security-related problems last year

In the European Union (EU), the proportion of internet users having experienced certain common security issues over the internet – such as viruses affecting devices, abuse of personal information, financial losses or children accessing inappropriate websites – stood at 25% in 2015.

In other words, three-quarters (75%) of internet users encountered no such online security problems in 2015.

Security concerns kept some internet users in the EU from doing certain activities over the internet: almost 1 in 5 did not shop online (19%) or did not carry out banking activities (18%) in 2015, and 13% of them did not use the internet with a mobile device via wireless connection from places other than home.

This information internet security is issued by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union, on the occasion of the Safer Internet Day (9 February 2016). This event is organized each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially among children and young people.

Internet users least affected by security issues in the Czech Republic and the Netherlands

Across the EU Member States, fewer than 15% of internet users experienced security related problems in 2015 in the Czech Republic (10%), the Netherlands (11%), Slovakia (13%) and Ireland (14%). At the opposite end of the scale were Croatia (42%), Hungary (39%), Portugal (36%), Malta (34%) and France (33%).

Internet users most likely to have caught a computer virus in Croatia, least likely in the Netherlands

For those internet users who had security related issues over the internet in 2015, catching a virus or other computer infection (e.g. worm or trojan horse) was the main problem experienced.

 Slightly more than 1 internet user out of 5 (21%) in the EU caught online a virus or other computer infection resulting in loss of information or time. Across Member States, the share of internet users having caught a virus was highest in Croatia (41%), followed by Hungary (36%), Portugal (33%), France (29%), Bulgaria and Malta (both 28%). In contrast, fewer than 10% of internet users caught a virus or computer infection in the Netherlands (6%), the Czech Republic (8%) and Slovakia (9%).

Compared with 2010, the share of internet users who caught a virus or other computer infection resulting in loss of information or time dropped in all Member States by 2015, except Croatia. The most remarkable fall was observed in Slovakia (from 47% in 2010 to 9% in 2015, or a decrease by 38 percentage points), followed by Bulgaria (-30 pp) and Latvia (-24 pp). At EU level, the proportion of internet users having caught a virus online decreased by 10 percentage points, from almost a third (31%) in 2010 to about a fifth (21%) in 2015.

Security concerns prevent internet users from e-shopping mostly in Romania and Sweden…

In addition, a notable share of internet users did not use the internet in 2015 for specific activities because they had concerns about security. Notably, more than 1 internet user out of 5 did not buy or order goods or services on-line for private use in Romania (35%), Sweden (34%), Portugal (30%), France (29%), Spain and Latvia (both 28%), Finland (27%), Italy and Malta (both 25%), Slovenia (24%), Denmark (22%) and the Netherlands (21%). At EU level, security concerns discouraged 19% of internet users from e-shopping.

… from e-banking mostly in Germany and Portugal…

Security concerns also kept more than 1 internet user out of 5 from e-banking activities notably in Germany (27%) and Portugal (26%), followed by Italy (24%), Spain (23%) and Greece (22%). In the EU, this was the case for 18% of internet users in 2015.

… from mobile connection via Wi-Fi in the Netherlands and Latvia

Using the internet with a mobile device via wireless connection from places other than home was limited or avoided, due to security concerns, by 13% of internet users in the EU. In particular, this concerned a significant share of internet users in the Netherlands (22%), Latvia (21%), Spain (20%) and Italy (19%).

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