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Protecting the Future: An In-Depth Analysis of the 2023 Mexico Cybersecurity Survey

Last Tuesday, November 7, in the Senate of the Republic, we as Cyberlat, through our Director Víctor Lagunes, signed the Pact for the Cybersecurity of Girls, Boys and Teenagers. The objective of this Pact is that each organization that we are part of can promote cybersecurity and a digital culture for children and young people, the future of our country. Many of the attacks target vulnerable groups, so protecting our children is critical.

At the end of the signing of the Pact, we presented the 2023 Cybersecurity Study (download it here) of the Internet MX Association in which, on behalf of CyberLat, we participated as sponsors along with AWS, NYCE and Cdetech. This study aims to understand the complete landscape of cybersecurity and how it affects different sectors of Mexican society. We address four dimensions of cybersecurity; Internet users, Mexican families, companies in Mexico and the mobile ecosystem in Mexico.

Encuesta de Ciberseguridad en México 2023
Encuesta de Ciberseguridad en México 2023

This blog corresponds to the first section of the survey, the cybersecurity of internet users. From this perspective, we evaluate cybersecurity awareness and practices among internet users in Mexico. We examine the habits, experiences and challenges individuals face in the digital environment, as well as their level of preparedness for cyber threats. This is the profile of the respondents:

Encuesta de Ciberseguridad en México 2023
Encuesta de Ciberseguridad en México 2023

69% show high concern about cybersecurity, their main fears are focused on financial attacks and identity theft.

Although users recognize risk situations - such as sharing information on forums or downloading information from unknown sources - there is a notable lag in the adoption of advanced security measures.

However, there is an increase in confidence regarding cloud solutions, although the use of private devices to safeguard information still predominates. But, there is uncertainty regarding the safety of these devices.

There are areas of opportunity to implement security measures. 50% of users have antivirus, a surprising 15% increase in those who did not use it compared to 2022. Regarding the use of firewalls, 38% are unaware of it and do not use it, which represents an increase of 16.3% compared to the previous year.

There is huge growth (40.8%) in cloud usage compared to 2022. However, this progressive cloud usage comes with challenges: although 66% apply security measures, 48% use the same password across multiple services , exposing themselves to risks.

The data reflects a significant lack of knowledge about essential security tools such as password managers. Only 29% of those surveyed use them, and 17% do not know what they are.

However, multi-factor authentication has gained ground, it is used by 43%, although there are still 21% who do not know its function.

Finally, with respect to security on social networks, people show greater caution: two thirds have configured their privacy, with Facebook (89%), WhatsApp (66%) and Instagram (57%), leading in the use of these tools.

32.6% of those surveyed have been exposed to fake news and 14.1% have suffered some form of financial fraud in the last year.

One in four respondents has had unrecognized charges on their bank cards, evidencing the need to strengthen cybersecurity in financial transactions.

The use of antivirus and firewalls is very important for protection against cybercrimes. The incidence of financial fraud decreases dramatically from 27% to 7% when using an antivirus, although exposure to fake news remains constant (around 32-33%).

Limiting access to photos and profiles on social networks reduces financial fraud from 27% to 8% and identity theft from 13% to 3%. Identity loss decreases from 20% to 3% when this security measure is used. However, unrecognized charges on cards vary by only 5%, suggesting little relationship to said limitation.

Encuesta de Ciberseguridad en México 2023
Encuesta de Ciberseguridad en México 2023

85% say they have not been a victim of online deception, but 61% have been exposed to fake news. The MOCIBA 2022 study indicates that 20.8% of internet users in Mexico (17.4 million) suffered cyberbullying. Although 87% do not feel threatened by online comments, this concern increased 10.7 p.p. from 2022.

Although 66% say they do not seek romantic relationships online, 40% have met someone they met online in person. 71.7% have not suffered the publication of personal photos or videos by third parties, but this incident increased 4 p.p. from 2022.

13% received requests to send intimate photos, a figure similar to 2022. Sharing intimate content remained close to 14% since last year.

This study shows that in Mexico, people between 18 and 45 years old have a basic knowledge of cybersecurity measures. Internet users are more familiar with the security resources that platforms such as Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram offer. 79% of the people surveyed claim to remember some government campaign on prevention measures in Internet use. But this does not guarantee that it is effective.

77% of the people surveyed remember a campaign on prevention measures carried out by the private initiative. Again, although there is concern about the issue, this does not translate into access to adequate training linked to both the public and private sectors.

In short, cybersecurity awareness and education remain necessary to close these gaps and ensure our safety online. In Mexico we remain very vulnerable and our most sensitive groups continue to be the focus of attack. Education campaigns are not immediately translating into greater user awareness. I am convinced that these studies are critical to diagnose the situation as they give us the opportunity to create plans to mitigate risks and understand what we need to improve the cybersecurity culture and environment in Mexico.


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