One in two Danes are vulnerable to IT attacks

Even though Denmark is one of the most digitised countries in the world, our personal IT security is lagging behind, IDA's large survey of data and privacy shows. Here are 3 tips to increase security.

The Danes are crazy about acquiring smart appliances such as refrigerators, televisions, burglar alarms and heat pumps that are connected to the internet and can be controlled through an app on the mobile phone.

study conducted by Analyse Danmark for IDA shows that 54 percent of all Danes have installed one or more smart devices in the home - also known as the Internet of Things (IoT). But half of respondents answer that they do not care at all or only to a small extent about whether they are protected against hacker attacks from outside.

If you are among the majority with smart appliances in your home, here are some ways to improve your IT security.

Protect your coffee machine with a password

Poorly protected IoT devices are a treat for IT criminals, who can hack into them and thereby gain access to other devices on your network. It could, for example, be your computer, warns Jørn Guldberg, an expert in IT security for IDA.

“All smart devices connected to the Internet can act as potential access points for hackers. Cybercriminals only need a single access point to gain access to the rest of your network. In this way, they can compromise the security of your computer or turn off your burglar alarm. Therefore, we must learn to think IT security into our coffee machines and thermostats", says Jørn Guldberg.

In the survey, only 16 percent responded that they actively deal with the threat of hacker attacks against their everyday electronics that can be connected to the Internet and communicate with each other and the outside world.

"My advice is to protect all your smart devices with passwords and update the software regularly if it doesn't do it itself. And switch off the devices if you are not using them", says Jørn Guldberg.

Secure your wifi network

Far too many citizens also do not worry enough about the IT security of their Wi-Fi network. According to the survey, only 63 percent of Danes protect their Wi-Fi network with a code they have created themselves. One in three say the network is protected with the password provided by the manufacturer.

"The problem is that IT criminals often know which standard passwords the manufacturers equip their devices with. That's why fraudsters can easily hack in if you don't change the password", says Jørn Guldberg.

Keep work and leisure separate

Another area of concern has to do with employer-paid mobile phones and laptops. Today, almost every third Dane has employer-paid devices, which make it easy to work anywhere and at any time.

But 59 percent of those who have employer-paid telephones and computers state that they also use them for private purposes that are not related to the workplace. In principle, the employer thus has the opportunity to monitor what the employees do in their spare time and what they search for online.

Therefore, it can be a really bad idea for employees to use the equipment privately, warns Malene Matthison-Hansen, chairman of the Employees' Council at IDA.

"It is important to be aware that the employer can follow everything you do on your phone and computer. Therefore, we also advise our members to keep work and personal life sharply separated by, for example, acquiring their own mobile phone", says Malene Matthison-Hansen.

Read about your rights concerning monitoring at work

Goodbye to Twitter

The survey also focuses on Danes' use of social media. In the survey, 34 percent of the Danish X users answered that they had left the platform during the past two years. In comparison, only 15 percent of users have said goodbye to Snapchat, while 10 percent have dropped Instagram.

According to Kåre Løvgren, an IT expert for IDA, a significant part of the explanation must be found in the extensive changes that have affected Twitter since the American billionaire Elon Musk bought the company in autumn 2022 for over DKK 300 billion and renamed it X.

"Many users have apparently had enough of the chaos that has hit Twitter after Elon Musk entered the executive corridor and began a regular mass firing. Since then, he has also reopened access for a number of users who would otherwise have been kicked out because they violated Twitter's code of ethics – including former US president Donald Trump", says Kåre Løvgren.

Facebook remains a favourite

According to IDA's survey, only 17 percent of the respondents are currently on X. The Danes' favourite social platform is still Facebook, which 89 percent of the population uses on a daily basis. In the survey, only five percent of Facebook users answered that they had closed their Facebook profile in the past two years.

"It is probably connected to Facebook's status as a modern community center. Many associations and sports clubs use Facebook to communicate with their members, which is why it is practically impossible for many to leave Facebook. In this way, Facebook has become an integrated communication platform and calendar in the lives of many Danes, even though most of us know very well that Facebook uses our data for marketing and has many bodies in the vice", says Kåre Løvgren.

Read the entire study Privacy and Data Security 2023 - an analysis of the digital behaviour of the Danish population (in Danish)