Irish have ranked 4th in the world in terms of cybersecurity and internet privacy knowledge, performing best in recognising various online risks and how to avoid them (72%); however they fared worst in questions related to practices and tools to stay safe online (51%).

The top 3 spots with the best internet privacy and cybersecurity awareness were seen to be Poland and Singapore (64/100); followed by Germany and the United States (63/100), with the United Kingdom, Austria and Portugal scoring 62/100. However, results show that the world’s online privacy and cybersecurity awareness is declining every year.

A global survey (annual National Privacy Test – NPT) aimed to evaluate people’s cybersecurity, online privacy awareness, and educate the general public about cyber threats and the importance of data and information security in the digital age, gathered 26,174 responses from 175 countries this year.

According to Marijus Briedis, chief technology officer (CTO) at NordVPN, the company that performed the research, educating users is key to a safe online experience.

“By engaging in the National Privacy Test, we aim to cultivate a community of privacy-conscious individuals who actively champion data protection. With the growing complexity of online threats, it is not that surprising that the world’s online privacy and cybersecurity awareness has been on the decline. Paradoxically, the more security solutions there are out there, the worse the results get every year. Raising awareness about the potential risks and educating users about best practices should be at the forefront of our efforts,” says Mr Briedis.

Irish create strong passwords

Research shows that Irish people are good at creating strong passwords (96%), and they know what kind of sensitive data they should avoid sharing on social media (93%). They also know how to deal with suspicious streaming service offers (92%), or the risks associated with saving their credit card details on their browser (88%).

However, only 4% of Irish people are knowledgeable about online tools that protect digital privacy, and only one out of 10 (11% each) know what data ISPs collect as part of the metadata, as well as how to secure their home Wi-Fi network.

Only a third of Irish know the importance of reading terms of service for apps and online services.While just 1% of the Irish surveyed are Cyber Wanderers (barely know anything about internet privacy and cybersecurity), with 13% scoring 75-100 points, identified as knowledgeable Cyber Stars.

Compared to 2021, Irish respondents know better what they should avoid sharing on social networks and the importance of reading terms of service.  However, like in several other countries, fewer participants are aware of Facebook’s ability to collect data on people who don’t have Facebook (67% in 2021 vs. 57% in 2023).

Privacy awareness

As for other European countries, France has the third-weakest privacy awareness score and one of the weakest daily digital life scores. Its total NPT score is 59% compared to 61% of Ireland. Also, German participants have the second-highest NPT score (63%) and share second place on the podium with the US. It’s worth adding that Germans are also highly aware of various digital privacy issues, achieving the second-best privacy awareness score with Finland.