UAE users cover up webcams, avoid Google, Facebook… to protect privacy

To protect their privacy, UAE users are turning to a multitude of methods to keep their personal data away from prying eyes in the online world, including hiding their devices.

Yet multiple research studies from Kaspersky Lab shows that not enough users are aware of the risks, and those that are, use the wrong methods to stay safe online.

The research shows Internet users in the UAE are turning to a number of different methods to keep their privacy safe.

Around 25 per cent admit that they cover up their webcam, in an attempt to protect their privacy. Useful in itself, it’s important to recognise that covering a webcam cannot prevent audio interception and protect users from being listened to by hackers or malicious groups.

Nearly 31 per cent store their sensitive data on devices that have no Internet access, mistakenly thinking that this will guarantee the protection of their data. However, although this theory is grounded in logic, and is essential for securing backup data from the effects of a ransomware attack, even without an Internet connection it is possible for a device to be infected via a connected smartphone or USB stick.

Nearly 17 per cent of those surveyed admitted that they try to avoid using popular websites like Google and Facebook because of the personal information they gather, despite the fact that it is normal practice for almost all websites to track users and collect some user data today.

Whilst some use these extreme, but inadequate methods, the statistics show that other Internet users are severely lacking in cyber-savviness. Only 23 per cent said they feel targeted online and 23 per cent said that they do not think a security solution is necessary, raising questions about their online awareness and ability to protect themselves from harm.

David Emm, Principal Security Researcher from Kaspersky Lab, said: “These findings demonstrate two extremes – one the one hand there are people who think they can keep their data safe by, for example, hiding their computers; but on the other hand there are still those who are simply not taking the necessary precautions online. People need to become more cyber-savvy – with today’s security solutions it’s possible to protect yourself from cyberthreats, without having to go to the extreme lengths of hiding a computer.”

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