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Are women more susceptible to cybercrimes than men?

In today’s digital era, our daily lives are deeply connected to the internet, offering immense convenience but also exposing us to a range of cybercrimes. Regrettably, a significant gender gap is evident in the field of online security, leaving women more susceptible to digital threats. Several key factors contribute to this gender-based vulnerability.

Cybercriminals often use social engineering techniques to manipulate people into sharing personal information or taking actions that jeopardize their security. Stereotypes portraying women as more empathetic and approachable can make them targets for scams and phishing attacks, further exacerbating their vulnerability in the digital realm.

When it comes to the internet, women, especially those who are active online or have a big presence, often face a lot of online bullying and nasty stuff. It can really mess with their heads and sometimes even put their safety at risk. Women tend to spill more of their personal stuff online, which can make them prime targets for online creeps. Stuff like where they are, who they’re with, or even family info that they share on social media can be taken advantage of by cybercriminals.

Are women at more risk than men?

Research has found that guys are more likely to get trained in cybersecurity, which leaves gals at a bit of a disadvantage. Since they might not know as much about how to stay safe online, women can be more at risk of getting hit by cyberattacks. The fact that there aren’t many women in the tech and cybersecurity fields adds to the issue. Since there aren’t as many female role models and experts in these areas, women might miss out on the advice and help they need to stay safe online.

Sometimes, people think that women aren’t as tech-savvy or clued in about cybersecurity because of old-fashioned stereotypes. This can make women less likely to ask for help or take cybersecurity seriously. Ladies have been hit by all sorts of money scams, like those sappy romance cons, where cybercriminals first make an emotional connection before swindling them out of cash or their personal info.

Also read: Staying one step ahead of credit card frauds; Tips to keep your money safe

Are women not using proper cybersecurity solutions?

Researchers from King’s College London found that women, who are often more susceptible to cyber abuse, use security and privacy technology significantly less than men do.

Dr. Kovila Coopamootoo, a Computer Science lecturer in the Cyber Security Group at King’s College, led the study that unveiled a substantial difference between men and women in how they use online safety tools.

After surveying 600 individuals, with a nearly equal split between men and women, the team found distinct differences in how men and women approach protecting themselves from cyber harassment and crime.

Among the survey participants, approximately 75% of women were inclined to shape their online safety practices based on advice from family and friends, referred to as “intimate and social connections” (ISC), while less than 24% of men did the same.

In contrast, a significant 70% of men preferred seeking advice from online sources like forums, reviews, and specialized pages. On the other hand, only around 35% of women followed the same approach.

Cybersecurity knowledge isn’t reaching women

Now, if your friend happens to be a cybersecurity expert, asking for their advice would make sense. However, the researchers suggest that relying on these intimate and social connections (ISC) may not always lead to the most accurate or useful information. Additionally, it seems that the arguably more informed cybersecurity knowledge available on the internet is not effectively reaching women.

The study also found that women didn’t really go for all those fancy online safety gadgets like VPNs, multi-factor thingies, firewalls, anti-spyware, anti-malware, and anti-tracking stuff. They mostly stuck to the basics, like keeping their software up to date and using strong passwords that are easy to get hold of.

They presented this study at the Usenix Security Symposium in sunny Anaheim, California, this year. Big shots like Meta, Google, TikTok, and IBM were backing it. The folks who wrote the paper also threw out some ideas for the tech folks and the folks in charge to make sure online safety is for everyone.

Also read: APU vs. CPU: Which processor type suits your needs?

Gender-based online harassment is getting out of hand

What it boils down to is providing straightforward support for when things go south online, especially the stuff that women commonly face. Women and girls should also get the lowdown on online safety basics. But here’s the real deal: they need to ensure that everyone, regardless of their tech know-how, can use the advice and tools to stay safe online.

Gender-based online harassment is seriously spiraling out of control, and it’s hitting individuals and society hard. It’s not just about the mental toll and personal suffering; it’s also draining a boatload of cash. In a study requested by the European Parliament in 2021, they estimated that all the damage from cyberbullying and online stalking of women in Europe could run anywhere from €49 billion to a whopping €89.3 billion. That’s an insane amount of money!

We’re facing a significant challenge in ensuring women’s online safety, and it’s a matter of utmost importance. Here’s the game plan: let’s amplify awareness, empower more women with tech and cybersecurity knowledge, and strive for greater female representation in these domains. Moreover, we must boldly challenge outdated gender stereotypes that exacerbate this issue. We ought to offer support to anyone affected by cybercrimes, regardless of their identity. It’s high time we unite and build a sturdy bridge across the gender gap in online security.

Vishal Kawadkar
About author

With over 8 years of experience in tech journalism, Vishal is someone with an innate passion for exploring and delivering fresh takes. Embracing curiosity and innovation, he strives to provide an informed and unique outlook on the ever-evolving world of technology.