This page presents recent data regarding cyber threats and online crime in Israel: the scope of exposure to threats and the cyber-security mechanisms activated by the Israeli public (anti-virus, VPN, operating system updates), while enabling examination of user patterns in specific focus-groups, according to a variety of demographic characteristics.
Data is based on a poll conducted for the Israel Internet Association in January 2022 by the Rushinek research institute among 1,025 respondents constituting a representative sample of the population over 18 in Israel.
Exposure to Online Threats among the Israeli Public
The following data tool demonstrates the public’s reporting rates for online threats experienced, with an option to focus on various demographic groups:
- About half of the Israeli population says that they or those close to them have experienced a cyber threat.
- 18% of the Israeli public experienced a threat by malicious software or a virus that caused damage to information on a computer or phone.
Among the methods used by cybercrime in the last year, the following were most prominent:
- Receipt of fake email or request for personal details (48% of the public experienced this.)
- Bank fraud or theft of credit card details online (11% of the public experienced this.)
- Theft or break-in to email account or social media profile (9% of the public experienced this.)
Fake email or request for personal details – demographic analysis
- As stated above, about half of respondents (48%) reported receiving a fake email or request for personal details.
- The northern region experienced the fewest fake emails or requests for personal details: 37% of residents of the north (excluding Haifa) experienced this, in contrast to 46-58% in other areas.
- A fake email or request for personal details is also more common among the Jewish secular and traditional sector (54%) and far less common in the religious Arab sector (15%), compared to religious/ultra-Orthodox Jews and secular Arabs (38% – 43%).
- A fake email or request for personal details was relatively more common among those with higher education: 53% of them experienced this versus 39% of those who do not have higher education.
- Differences in the incidence of fake emails or requests for personal details were also found with respect to age groups and income levels: 24% of those with no income reported experiencing this and 39% of those with much lower-than-average incomes, versus 52-60% of those with higher incomes. 34-39% of young people aged 18-29 reported this, versus 52-58% of older people.
Reporting cyber crime cases
- 30% of respondents answered they would report to the Israel National Cyber Directorate, 17% responded they would report to the relevant internet site, 18% said they would report to their internet supplier and 13% answered they would report to consumer-protection organizations. In addition, of those sampled, 12% responded they would not report at all and 39% do not know or are not sure who they would report to.
- In terms of gender, men would report to the Israel National Cyber Directorate relatively more (35% of them would do so versus 25% of women). In contrast, more women than men are not sure or do not know who they would report to (43% of women versus 35% of men).
- 23 – 29 year olds cited reporting to the Israel National Cyber Directorate less than other age groups (21% versus 28 – 38%).
- Respondents over 50 would report to their internet supplier more than others (26-30% versus 14-16% among younger respondents).
- Respondents over 60 would report more than others to the relevant internet site (31% would do so versus 12-18% of younger respondents). In addition, it would be hard to define the over 60 respondents as passive with respect to reporting: just 1% of them would not report a cybercrime they experienced at all, versus 11 – 15% among younger respondents.
The Israeli public’s cyber-protection habits: anti-virus, firewall and encryption (VPN)
- The poll reveals that 65% of the public have an anti-virus program, 44% have a firewall and 22% have an encryption program or VPN.
- 18% of Israelis do not know or are unsure if they own these programs and 8% do not have any of the programs (anti-virus, firewall and encryption program).
Anti-virus, firewall and encryption – demographic analysis
- Protection software use is higher among men than women: 71% of men have anti-virus versus 60% of women; 55% of men have a firewall versus 34% of women and 27% of men have encryption software/VPN versus 18% of women.
- In terms of gender, it is noteworthy that women were less certain, or more often did not know which software they have (23% of them were not sure, versus 12% of men).
- The absence of an anti-virus and firewall is more prevalent among the young (aged 18 – 29): 54-57% of them have anti-virus versus 66 – 73% of older respondents and 28 – 36% of them have a firewall versus 49 – 52% of older respondents. In contrast, encryption software/VPN use is significantly lower among respondents over 60, just 9% of whom own this, versus 17-27% among younger respondents.
- Firewall and anti-virus are relatively more prevalent in the Jewish sector: 68 – 77% of Jewish respondents have anti-virus and 49 – 50% of them have a firewall. This is compared to 33% anti-virus owners in the religious Arab sector and 52% anti-virus owners in the secular-traditional Arab sector, and 15 – 30% firewall owners in the Arab sector on the whole.
- One out of every three religious Arabs (33%) has none of the types of protection software in the questions (compared to 3 – 10% among other sectors).
- Among the Arab sector, a negative gap of approximately 15 – 20% was pronounced, with a disadvantage for the religious versus the secular-traditional with respect to anti-virus use levels (33% versus 52%, respectively) and firewall use (15% versus 30%). This is while in the Jewish sector the gap was reversed in favor of the religious/ultra-Orthodox population: a positive 9% gap in favor of the religious/ultra-Orthodox population with respect to anti-virus use (77% versus 68% among secular-traditional); no significant gap was found with respect to firewall use (49 – 50% use among both religious orientations).
- Anti-virus and firewall protection software are also more prevalent among respondents with higher education than among those who lack higher education (anti-virus use: 70% and 57% respectively; firewall use: 49% and 36% respectively).
- Furthermore, those who lack higher education were less aware of their protection-software status – 23% of them were unsure or did not know versus 15% among those with higher education.
- A correlation was found between an absence of income and an absence of protection software use: Just 49% of those with no income had anti-virus, versus 59 – 73% of those with an income. 24% of those without an income had a firewall versus 37 – 55% among those with an income. In addition, 34% of those without an income were unsure or did not know about the existence of the software among them, versus just 10-19% among those who have an income.
- Geographically, we found that in the south 21% of residents do not have any of the software (anti-virus, firewall or encryption software/VPN) versus 5 – 10% in other areas. In addition, the northern and southern regions stood out for the absence of anti-virus software for the internet: 54% of residents in the north and south have anti-virus software versus 64 – 79% in other areas.
The Israeli public’s cyber protection habits: updating operating systems
- 47% of the public regularly updates the operating system on their computer and 59% regularly update the operating system on their smartphone. In contrast, 18% do not regularly update the operating system on their devices (both computer and smartphone).
- Men regularly update their operating system more than women: 56% of men update the system on their computer and 65% on their cellphone, versus 38% and 54% of women, respectively.
- Residents of the north (without Haifa) update the operating system on their computer less (34% of them update on their computer versus 43 – 58% in Israel’s other areas).
- An absence of operating system updating was witnessed in the Arab sector: 30-34% of them update the operating system on their computers versus 45 – 52% in the Jewish sector. With respect to updating cellphones, differences between sectors and religious observance were pronounced, since 66% of secular/traditional Jews regularly update the system on their cellphone, versus 49% among religious/ultra-Orthodox Jews; in addition, 55% of secular/traditional Arabs regularly update the system on their cellphone versus just 33% among religious Arabs.