Blog Privacy Buzz: How much do people really know about cyber crime?
Alaa Basatneh January 8, 2019

Privacy Buzz: How much do people really know about cyber crime?

By the year 2021, it is estimated that cyber crime damages will exceed 6 trillion dollars. Billionaire investor Warren Buffet calls it “the greatest threat to mankind.”

As a human rights and internet freedom advocate, I’m always curious about how many people are aware of the dangers of cyber crime — and, perhaps more importantly, do they know how to protect themselves?

My suspicion: People don’t think about it nearly enough.

Cyber crimes range from hacking, identity theft, financial crimes, even to terrorism. Basically, any crime that occurs online. To get a sense as to the publics’ thoughts on cyber crime, I decided to take to the streets of San Francisco—microphone in hand—and ask some questions. Do people think about the dangers online? Do they even care?

You can watch the full video below. This is the first installment in our Privacy Buzz series, where we ask the people important questions around internet security and privacy.

“Cyber crime is a fast-growing area of crime,” says Interpol, the world largest international police organization. “More and more criminals are exploiting the speed, convenience, and anonymity of the internet to commit a diverse range of criminal activities that know no borders, either physical or virtual, cause serious harm and pose very real threats to victims worldwide.”

In my talks with the people of San Francisco, most were aware that cyber crime is becoming an increasing danger—after all, we hear about it on the news almost daily with data breaches, hackings, and other crimes that stem from behind computer screens—but many were not armed with the knowledge as to how they can protect themselves.

“I’m aware (of cyber crime), but it’s not something I think about that much. It’s probably not as much as I should,” one interviewee told me.  

I was struck by the need for better education on the topic. For example, many people didn’t realize that there are tools online such as Hotspot Shield to protect them from potential cyber crimes, conceal their identity and location when browsing the web, as well as secure their devices from hackers and harmful malware. Then there’s basic education like how to spot phishing scams and being mindful of the info they post to social media each day.

In today’s world, these are things every internet user should know. And as I found out, sadly, most people do not.

Make sure you subscribe to Hotspot Shield’s YouTube channel to catch every episode of Privacy Buzz. We have more great videos on the way.


Alaa Basatneh
About Alaa Basatneh

Alaa Basatneh is a human rights advocate and writer focusing on demolishing xenophobia. She is the protagonist of the award-winning documentary #ChicagoGirl.

View all posts by Alaa Basatneh
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