The citizens of Denmark feel safe - but 60 pct. of them are vulnerable to cyberattack


New survey shows that just 40 pct. of Danish citizens do backup of the content of their computers. Consequently, they place themselves at risk of one of the greatest security threats of modern times: ransomware, by which criminals block access to private data and then demand large sums of money in return for releasing the data. With a backup you can regenerate the data without having to pay.

According to the new report, 86 pct. of the respondents make use of public digital services. Of these, 87 pct. are confident that the public authorities will handle their personal data with due confidentiality and security. Digital safety and security is a key prerequisite for successful digitization of contact between Danish citizens and the public sector.

Do backup of your family photos

The survey revealed that many citizens are exposed to digital kidnappers who demand money from them in return for granting access to their own data. Eight percent of Danish citizens were victims of ransomware in 2016 and just 40 pct. stated that they do backup of their data. Consequently, more than half of the Danish citizens risk losing data in the event that their computer is hacked into or stolen.

Europol regards ransomware as one of the most important current cyber-threats, and the Danish Centre for Cyber Security (CFCS) reports a proliferation of cases of cyber-attacks against private individuals, public authorities businesses. Victims of ransomware risk losing irreplaceable pictures of their children or holiday photos.

“ICT security is like an arms race. The only way we can win is by being wary and by making ourselves unattractive targets. It is crucial that citizens are equipped to navigate the digital domain. For this reason, we run major awareness campaigns each year and the Danish government is in the process of devising a new cyber security and ICT security strategy. This strategy is aimed at increasing ICT security in private homes, at businesses and at public sector workplaces,” said Ms. Marlene Wiese Svanberg, Head of the Law, Information Security and EU Affairs Division at the Danish Agency for Digitisation.

In contrast to previous years, this year’s report addresses both public sector and private sector employees. 57 pct. of public sector employees reported that the data they work with is backed up, and 48 pct. stated that they had familiarised themselves with their workplace’s ICT security policy.

“It is crucial that we work to preserve Danish citizens’ confidence in public sector digitisation. For this reason, it is important that we make active use of this knowledge about public sector employees’ awareness of ICT security to target future information initiatives towards public sector employees,” continued Ms. Marlene Wiese Svanberg.

What is ransomware?

Ransomware is software designed to block access to data or to systems as a whole. Cyber-criminals are able to do this, for example if you click on a link in a malicious e-mail or visit an unsecured website where you click on an “infected” advert. These criminals often encrypt the data and ask you to pay to regain access to your own data.

What can you do to protect yourself?

The best protection against ransomware is to make a backup copy of your data so that you are then able to restore your data without having to pay the criminals. Another wise precaution is to avoid clicking on attached files or links in emails from senders who you do not trust. It is also a good idea to keep all your devices updated.