Research: Dutch Population Becomes More Concerned About Their Online Security

06 Oct 2021
Author: HSD Foundation

On 4 October, the annual Alert Online awareness campaign was launched, in which public-private partners such as the national government, municipalities, business, police and knowledge institutions participate. During the hybride kick-off event, the results of the annual cybersecurity awareness survey 'secure online' were presented. The research was commissioned by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate (EZK).


The report shows that, in general, Dutch people are more concerned with their online security compared to a year ago. A part of respondents even stresses that their concerns have increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, they give themselves a lower mark (6,6) compared to (7,0) last year, regarding the handling online risks and also taking action.


Phishing, DDoS and Bank help desk fraud

Phishing is mentioned as the most common form of cybercrime. Four out of five Dutch people received a phishing email last year. Furthermore, the report shows that several groups in society are more vulnerable regarding cybercrime than others. For example, the level of knowledge of elderly and low-educated people is significantly lower than other groups. This can also be traced to their behaviour, as they are less likely to take action to protect themselves.


Employees of large companies and in critical infrastructures are more likely to think that they could be involved in a DDoS-attacks than others. Employees of SMEs often think that they could be involved in help desk fraud at banks.


File reports

Only 3% of the general public notifies the police and 3% reports a file. That is remarkably low.


'Let’s get started'

The research shows that the knowledge and attitude of Dutch people is good but that behaviour lags behind. Digitisation accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic and increased our dependency on digital processes. These developments give malicious persons a chance. This touches citizens as well as businesses, think for example about COVID-related phishing emails and increasing ransomware attacks. Basic security such as signing in and making back-ups are important. But people have to actually do so. Therefore, the theme ‘Let’s get startedis a central topic in the cybersecurity month this year, aiming to go a step further besides enhancing the consciousness of cyber security.


More information about Alert Online.

HSD Partners involved