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SA consumers most unforgiving of brands who don't keep them safe

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 14 Oct 2021

SA’s consumers are the least forgiving of all markets when brands fail to keep them safe online.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of local consumers say they would stop buying from a brand if they fell victim to a phishing attack involving that brand, and 81% would lose trust in their favourite brand if their money was stolen due to phishing or impersonation.

These are two of the findings of a global Brand Trust survey by cyber security giant Mimecast.

Starting from the premise that "one cyber attack is enough to lose consumer turst and custom", Mimecast’s research features insights from over 9 000 adults (aged 18-65) in the Benelux, Nordics, United Kingdom, Germany, South Africa, Australia and the Middle East.

It found that 93% of SA consumers expect their favoured brands to guarantee that their services, such as Web sites, e-mails and other communications, are safe to use.

The bottom line? Brands need to do more to protect their customers from attackers, says Heino Gevers, cyber security expert at Mimecast.

He says South Africans are too trusting, with 69% of those surveyed saying they would not hesitate to open an e-mail from brands they use on a regular basis, and more than half (56%) clicking on links from their favourite brands without a thought.

“However, with cyber threats, including impersonation attacks and phishing attacks, showing sharp increases, consumers are at perpetual risk of falling victim to cyber crime, with potentially devastating consequences to the brands they support.”

Misappropriating brands

The findings come at a time when bad actors are imitating famous brands with alarming ease. 

Mimecast's State of Email Security 2021 report highlighted that a whopping 94% of local organisations admitted to being worried about counterfeit Web sites misappropriating their brands.

Mimecast’s latest research confirms the extent to which consumers are under siege by cyber attacks, says Gevers.

Almost half of local consumers surveyed claimed to receive a phishing e-mail at least once a week, while more than three-quarters (78%) said they have landed on a spoofed Web site after clicking on a link in social media.

“Worryingly, two-thirds (66%) had received a phishing e-mail that was forwarded from friends and family, indicating a need for greater cyber security awareness among consumers."

Interestingly, looking across all the markets surveyed, Mimecast found that South Africa is the country most aware of its susceptibility to cyber crime (92%). In addition, middle aged South African men are the most knowledgeable when it comes to cyber security risks, while 18-24 year old Germans are the least knowledgeable.