Data theft and fraud are the most common crimes on the internet. According to a dark field study that the BSI has now presented together with the police.
Over a quarter of the citizens surveyed have already personally experienced cybercrime. Respondents are also very concerned about the increasing use of artificial intelligence (AI): among other things, they fear possible forgery and manipulation of documents and media (65%) as well as attacks by cyber criminals (60%) and see the security of their personal data (58%) at risk.
These are some of the findings of the Cybersecurity Monitor 2023 (CyMon), previously known as the Digital Barometer. It is the fifth joint citizen survey conducted by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) and the State and Federal Police Crime Prevention Unit (ProPK).
Quality of the damage
While respondents who have not yet been affected by cybercrime most frequently fear financial losses, only around a fifth of those affected (18%) have suffered direct financial losses.
Among the participants who were actually affected by cybercrime, a total of eight out of ten people suffered damage (80%). This primarily relates to loss of trust in the relevant online services (33%), time-related damage (26%) and emotional damage such as insult or fear (23%).
When it comes to online banking, 87% of users consider cyber security to be very important, whereas only two thirds of users (68%) consider it to be very important when shopping online – even though sensitive data such as credit card information is also passed on here.
Dangers posed by AI
With this in mind, Stefanie Hinz, Chairwoman of the State and Federal Police Crime Prevention Program, says: “People use online services every day, mostly to save time and money. But it is exactly these that they lose in the event of a claim. Impulse purchases and apparent bargains are catalysts for online fraud. So make sure you use secure payment methods and preferably buy on account. And if you are affected by fraud, report these cases to us immediately. Not only will you help put a stop to criminals, you will also prevent other people from losing money.”
CyMon 2023 is also focusing on AI: while almost all respondents (96%) have heard of AI, they are far less aware of AI-based and AI-supported methods used by criminals. The best known is the shock call with a voice imitated by an AI application. Although the police in Germany are not yet aware of any cases, around half of respondents (52%) have heard of this method. Fewer respondents are aware of artificially created or manipulated images and videos (48%) or the use of profile data from social media for fraud attempts (46%).
“We have two goals to make citizens more resilient: They need to know what real possibilities of attack exist and how they can react in an emergency – especially with a technology that is developing as rapidly as AI. And we need to offer them concrete protection,” emphasizes Claudia Plattner, President of the BSI. “CyMon shows that it is an urgent priority in digital consumer protection to explain the use of various protective measures to citizens in an understandable way and to provide offers of help in the event of damage, be it emergency checklists, which we are developing together with ProPK, or offers such as the digital first aiders of the cyber security network.”
About the study
The Cybersecurity Monitor 2023 was conducted this year from June 5 to 13. A total of 3,012 people aged 16 and over were surveyed nationwide and the results were weighted according to the population structure characteristics of age, gender, federal state and education in Germany.