CYBER-INSECURE

Indian shoppers’ obsession with online discounts is making them vulnerable

Mind the digital security gap.
Mind the digital security gap.
Image: Reuters/Adnan Abidi
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India is considered to be the fastest-growing tech hub in the world. But the country may struggle to hold that title with its dismal digital hygiene standards.

The country stood 19th on a ranking of 21 countries in the National Privacy Test, according to a recent survey by VPN provider NordVPN. The survey, launched in November 2020, assessed the digital habits, privacy awareness, and risk tolerance of over 48,000 participants from around the world.

India scored just over 51 points on a scale of 100 while Germany topped the list with 71.2 points.

The best e-commerce discounts

Indians love their sales. Over half of urban Indians won’t make a purchase if there are no discounts or offers. And that has become their Achilles’ heel when it comes to protecting them on the internet.

“NordVPN’s research drilled down into what has led to India’s poor performance and found that Indians are the most reckless when it comes to online bargains and social media,” the Panama-based company noted.

For example, a sizeable 51% of Indian respondents said they would buy a Netflix or Spotify subscription if they found an offer on eBay at a lower price than the official rate. “Obviously, people simply don’t know that streaming service accounts sold on eBay at a better price are almost always stolen,” NordVPN’s digital privacy expert said. “This means that people lack the understanding of how those accounts end up stolen in the first place. Anyone who’s accidentally installed malware on their device can end up robbed of their credentials

Even beyond shady purchases, Indians displayed below-average knowledge of digital best practices compared to the rest of the world.