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Cybercrime alert: Nearly half of UAE users add people they don’t know

* 75 per cent on social media don’t interact with people they have added as friends

* Survey shows 49 per cent of respondents accepted 50 per cent of unfamiliar requests

* 97 per cent have experienced at least one form of cyber attack

Are all your friends on Facebook really your friends?

Nearly half of social media users in the UAE accept 50 per cent or more of unfamiliar requests on their social media accounts. However, 75 per cent of them do not interact with those they befriended or are followed by on social media.

So, why did they become social media friends in the first place?

One of the UAE’s two telecom players, du, carried out the Social Media Usage and the Dangers of Oversharing study among 500 people as part of its #PostWisely campaign, launched in an effort to encourage the online community in the country to think before they post. The campaign also aims at protecting Internet users from the threat of cybercrime.

Also Read: 20,000 employees’ data leaked: Are you one?

“Our aim today is to sensitise audiences about sharing the information that could be detrimental, not only to their lives, but also to their families and wellbeing,” says Hala Badri, executive vice-president, Brand and Communications, du.

“As a responsible business, we saw an opportunity to address this issue head on, as it has been growing in leaps and bounds, and will continue to manifest itself – unless we do something about it,” Badri adds.

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More than 2.5 million consumers in the UAE have been victims of online crimes over the past year, revealed a new report by cyber-security global firm Symantec.

Moreover, the report showed that despite collectively spending more than $1.4 billion and an average of 31.5 hours per victim dealing with the consequences, UAE consumers affected by cybercrime in the past year are the most likely to continue engaging in risky online behaviour, leaving themselves vulnerable to further attacks.

Major findings from the survey                    

* 22 per cent of respondents have more than 500 friends on Facebook and 46 per cent spend more than 1-2 hours on Facebook per day

* 50 per cent of respondents have a public Facebook profile, while 53 per cent have a public Instagram account and 68 per cent have a public Twitter account

* Facebook is the most widely used social media platform for meeting new people, with 72 per cent of respondents using it for this purpose

* 58 per cent of respondents share friends’ pictures on social media, while 50 per cent share family pictures and 39 per cent check in at their location

* 2 in 5 parents report their children having social media accounts; 90 per cent of which claim to monitor their children’s Facebook accounts and 79 per cent claim to monitor Instagram accounts

* 97 per cent of social media users in the UAE report that they have received at least one cyber-attack in the form of spam links, inappropriate messages from strangers, fake accounts, viruses from downloaded files, or an account hack

* 31 per cent of respondents admit that they have posted something online that they have later regretted

Also Read: Revealed: This is how Facebook plans to fight fake news