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Unwanted contacts and sexting are the main online risks in Brazil | Security

On the International Safe Internet Day, celebrated this Tuesday (11), Microsoft released a survey on the risks of online security. According to the survey, in Brazil, undesirable contacts, unwanted sexting and scams, fraud and scams represent the greatest dangers on the Internet for users. In addition, the survey showed an increase in the country's Digital Civility Index (DCI) over the past year, which indicates that people are having a lower perception of online threats.

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The survey was carried out with 12,500 adults and teenagers, aged between 13 and 74 years old, in May 2019. In all, 25 countries participated in the analysis, which assessed people's perceptions of the current state of digital citizenship. Here in Brazil, 502 people were interviewed. Next, see what are the main threats that Brazilians face on the Internet.

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Before analyzing the research, it is important to explain that 21 risks were identified online, which can be separated into four major groups:

  1. Intrusive / personal threats: undesirable contact; scams, fraud, scams; hate speech; discrimination; terrorist recruitment and misogyny
  2. Behavioral threats: trollings; online harassment; malicious treatment; hazing micro-harms and cyberbullying
  3. Sexual threats: receiving sexting; sending sexting; sexual requests; sextorso; revenge porn and sexual harassment
  4. Reputational threats: damage to personal reputation; damage to professional reputation and publication of private information

According to the Brazilians, the threats that most pose risks to personal security on the Internet are intrusive or sexual content. Undesirable contacts and unwanted sexting are the main threats from the users' point of view, with 42% and 26%, respectively. Then there are hoaxes, fraud and scams (24%), bullying (24%) and sexual harassment (22%). Despite this, it was behavioral risks, such as online harassment and cyberbullying, which showed the highest rates of increase in relation to the previous year, with growth of 7%.

Undesirable contacts and unwanted sexting are the main online threats in Brazil Photo: Reproduo / MalwarebytUndesirable contacts and unwanted sexting are the main online threats in Brazil Photo: Reproduo / Malwarebyt

Undesirable contacts and unwanted sexting are the main online threats in Brazil Photo: Reproduo / Malwarebyt

Brazil is far from being a digitally civilized country. The country now has a Digital Citizenship Index (DCI) of 72% and occupies the 15th position in the ranking in relation to the 25 countries that participated in the study. It is worth mentioning that the higher the DCI, the greater the exposure to people's risk and the less the perceived level of online civility.

According to the interviewees, the themes that generate the most discussions and conflicts on the Internet are: politics (53%), sexual orientation (34%), religion (33%), physical appearance (30%) and race (29%). Online risk exposure also points to a trend in emotional and psychological pain, among other negative consequences. 93% of Brazilians interviewed have already suffered from online problems, with 71% having experienced these situations at least twice.

In addition, 37% of reported threats occurred in the last week / month and 86% of users fear that these problems will happen again. For Brazilians, the most painful risks are: micro-injuries (77%), abuse (74%), damage to professional reputation (73%), misogyny (72%) and cyberbullying (72%). Women have a perception that these threats are a bigger problem.

Most Brazilians have suffered from online problems Photo: Divulgao / Creative CommonsMost Brazilians have suffered from online problems Photo: Divulgao / Creative Commons

Most Brazilians have suffered from online problems Photo: Divulgao / Creative Commons

The data related to adolescents are also worrisome, because 75% of people who have experienced some threat say they suffered from unbearable pain, but only 48% asked their parents for help and 63% knew where to find help. Among adults, the millennial generation is the group with the highest risk.

Digital Citizenship Index in the world

Considering respondents from all participating countries, the survey concluded that exposure to online risks increased mainly in the following areas: unwanted contact; scams, fraud and scams; unwanted sexting; malicious treatment and trolling.

The country that stood out most in the survey, with the lowest DCI, was the United Kingdom. This means that your population is more aware of online security risks. Next in the ranking are the Netherlands, Germany, Malaysia and the United States. On the other hand, the countries with the highest Digital Citizenship rates are South Africa, Peru, Colombia, Russia and Vietnam. Brazil ranks 15th in the survey.

Countries Digital Citizenship Index in 2019 and 2018 Photo: Reproduo / MicrosoftCountries Digital Citizenship Index in 2019 and 2018 Photo: Reproduo / Microsoft

Countries Digital Citizenship Index in 2019 and 2018 Photo: Reproduo / Microsoft

Still on a global level, online risks are considered a major problem by most users. Scams, fraud and scams are seen as serious for 80% of respondents, while threats of sexual origin are considered a major problem for 79%. Unwanted contact and behavioral risks are 63% and 71%, respectively.

More than half of respondents have a pessimistic view of the current state of digital civility and do not believe in improvements for this year. They become more optimistic when asked about the prospects for this decade. Despite this, people want 2020 to be marked by more respect and security, with more freedom and civility on the Internet.

Principles of Digital Citizenship

For Nycholas Szucko Antunes, director of cybersecurity at Microsoft Brazil, it is possible to make the Internet an environment in which everyone can live well. "The digital universe represents a huge opportunity to improve our communication, collaborate more and be more productive, but we know that this is not always accompanied by civility, says the executive. Thinking about it, Microsoft shared the four principles of the Digital Citizenship Challenge. According to the company, if people start taking these actions on the Internet, online interactions can be safer, healthier and more respectful.

  1. Act with empathy, compassion and kindness, treating with dignity and respect the people who interact with you on the Internet;
  2. Respect differences and honor diverse perspectives;
  3. Think before you respond to things you disagree with to avoid threats to someone's safety;
  4. Defend yourself and others by reporting aggressive activities and keeping evidence of inappropriate or unsafe behavior.