Aware of online security

15 May 2020

As every year DNS Belgium also conducted a market survey in co-operation with Insites Consulting in 2019. Compared to figures of recent years, young people and entrepreneurs particularly are aware of their internet security. More so than others this group considers itself an expert in matters concerning the internet. 

Vulnerable older people?

If we look at the figures in more detail, we notice that young people (18-24) are more aware of their online security. As many as 73 percent of people between 18 and 34 regards themselves – probably rightly so – as experts in matters relating to the internet and claim to be familiar with the latest security tools. The same applies to the surveyed entrepreneurs and domain name holders. 

Our survey shows that the over 45 age category particularly pays less attention to its online security. They also appear to be barely aware of new security tools and do not consider themselves experts at all (40 percent of the 45-64 age group). The group that is most vulnerable due to a rather limited knowledge also seems to be the least aware of the risks in the field of cyber security.

We can draw a similar conclusion from the figures about the popularity of domain name extensions. The popularity of .com has dropped strongly compared to recent years. Both in the field of recognition, reliability and quality, .com has dropped by as much as 11 percent. .be follows this trend, albeit with less dramatic figures, when it concerns recognition and reliability and even increases slightly when it concerns quality. 

These are surprising figures that require further explanation. If we break down the respondents even further, enterprising Belgians barely seem to notice anything of this reduced popularity of .com and .be. And people who already registered a domain name haven't noticed anything at all. In this group the popularity of .be has increased 7 percent, the quality with 9 percent and the reliability with as much as 13 percent. 

In other words, it very much looks like young people, entrepreneurs and domain name holders are positive vis-à-vis the internet. This group still associates .be with quality and reliability. That means that people, for whom the internet is an important part of their daily routine (possibly work-related), have a better understanding of it and more trust in it. The less that people use the internet, the less trust they – wrongly – have in it. 

Domain name for professional use

The survey also showed that people who had already registered one or more domain names do this increasingly for their own professional purposes (increase of 10% compared to 2018). And noticeably: they don't only do this because they want a website but more often to have a personal e-mail address too. 

That's a smart move, because when we look at trust, it appears once again that a professional e-mail address associated with your domain name comes across more professional and reliable than a generic Google or Hotmail e-mail address, for example.

6 out of 10 domain name owners also use social media in addition to their website to share content with their public. That figure barely changes. Facebook also remains the most popular channel, but the popularity of Instagram has increased 12 percent compared to last year, largely at the expense of Twitter. The trust of all target groups in a company's own website remains much greater than in a company's Facebook page.

If we have to summarise the findings of our market survey, we can say that two groups are emerging. On the one hand people who approach the internet with increasing trust and have a good understanding of it: young people, entrepreneurs and domain name owners. And on the other hand the people who are less positive vis-à-vis the internet. This chiefly concerns older people who often also spend less time online.

With this article, we support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.