Skip to content

1. Global Internet Usage Continues to Surge

Hey there!

The internet has become such an integral part of our lives these days. We rely on it for work, entertainment, shopping – you name it. But as the global internet audience swells, and as we spend more and more time online each day, it exposes us to emerging risks like cybercrime, fraud and identity theft.

To help you stay informed and secure in our increasingly digital world, I wanted to provide an in-depth look at the latest internet usage and safety statistics. By understanding the current landscape and threats, you can make smarter decisions to protect your data and privacy when going online. Let‘s dive in!

More people across the world are getting online every single day. Here are some key stats:

  • As of January 2024, there are over 5.17 billion internet users worldwide. That‘s up from 4.66 billion in 2020, a staggering 11% growth in just two years! This means 66% of the global population is now connected.

  • Check out the growth in internet users worldwide over the past decade:

YearInternet UsersGrowth
20235.17 billion11% (vs. 2020)
20204.66 billion7% (vs. 2019)
20194.36 billion5% (vs. 2018)
20184.12 billion8% (vs. 2017)
20173.81 billion10% (vs. 2016)

As you can see, internet usage has exploded over the past decade, with double digit growth from year to year.

  • Mobile internet adoption is rising even quicker. There are now over 4.95 billion mobile internet users globally, accounting for a whopping 96% of total internet users!

This trend reflects how integral mobile devices have become in our lives. Wherever we go, the internet goes with us.

  • On average, the typical internet user worldwide spends nearly 7 hours per day online. That‘s up an hour just since 2020!

All this time spent on the internet unlocks many conveniences for us. But it also exposes us to emerging cyber threats. We‘ll explore those risks next.

Here in the United States, internet usage is practically universal at this point:

  • As of 2024, 92% of American adults use the internet, up from just 52% in 2000. That‘s only an 8% gap to 100% penetration.

  • Internet usage among certain demographics is even higher:

    • 99% for 18-29 year olds

    • 97% for 30-49 year olds

    • 91% for 50-64 year olds

    • 73% for adults over 65

This demonstrates how indispensable internet access is across all ages and backgrounds here in the U.S.

  • Compared to 2000, Americans across all age groups are spending way more time online per day:
Age GroupTime Spent Online Per DayChange from 2000
18-296 hrs 13 min+1 hr 13 min
30-496 hrs 29 min+2 hrs 14 min
50-646 hrs 48 min+3 hrs 11 min
Over 654 hrs 45 min+2 hrs 27 min

That‘s at least 2 hours more per day across all age groups. The internet occupies most of our free time these days.

While this connectivity is empowering, it also escalates cyber risks. Let‘s discuss some of those next.

The ubiquity of internet access has also enabled cyber threats to proliferate rapidly. Some of the key risks include:

Ransomware Attacks

  • Ransomware incidents increased by 105% globally in 2021 alone. Many attacks targeted medical facilities and schools. (Source: SonicWall)

  • A business now falls victim to a ransomware attack every 14 seconds according to recent estimates! (Source: Cybint)

  • The average ransom payment doubled to $170,404 in 2021. (Source: Unit 42 Palo Alto Networks)

For businesses especially, ransomware has become the top digital threat. With more records and supply chains digitized, the disruption caused by ransomware can be catastrophic.

Identity Theft

  • In 2021, roughly 14.5 million Americans were victims of identity theft. That‘s 1 out of every 23 people! (Source: Javelin)

  • Of those victims, 9.5 million had their personal information exposed in a data breach. (Source: Javelin)

  • Credit card fraud was the most common type of identity theft, impacting 32% of victims. (Source: Javelin)

With the surge in online shopping and digital payments, thieves have more avenues than ever to steal your information and commit fraud.

Phishing Scams

  • Phishing websites increased by 15% in 2021. A shocking 45% of these sites now use HTTPS encryption to seem more legitimate. (Source: Tessian)

  • Microsoft Office files like Word docs were used in 51% of phishing attacks last year. (Source: Tessian)

  • 290 billion phishing emails were sent globally in 2021. If your inbox seems extra cluttered, this is why! (Source: Tessian)

With phishing sophistication on the rise, it‘s becoming harder for the average person to discern legitimate emails and sites from fake ones.

Child Safety Risks

  • 1 in 5 children receive unwanted explicit solicitations online according to researchers. (Source: Internet Safety 101)

  • 32% of children begin interacting on social media between the ages of 8 and 9, despite age limits. (Source: Livingstone, S., et al.)

  • 70% of teens hide some of their online behavior from their parents. (Source: McAfee)

Kids face threats like cyberbullying, explicit messaging, and predators. Parents must be vigilant about monitoring and teaching online safety.

As you can see, threats are evolving across the board, impacting individuals, businesses and infrastructure. It pays to be extra cautious when going online these days.

While the internet has sown many seeds of convenience, it has also sprouted some sticker bushes. But don‘t let potential pitfalls prevent you from reaping all the benefits of modern connectivity. Just take sensible precautions:

Use Strong Passwords

  • Invest some time to create unique, complex passwords for all important accounts. Consider using a password manager to generate and store them securely. This is your first line of defense.

Turn on Two-Factor Authentication

  • Two-factor authentication (2FA) adds an extra layer of security beyond just a password. 2FA will send a temporary code to your phone to verify logins. Enable this option whenever available.

Update Your Software

  • Maintaining current software is critical, since updates often patch vulnerabilities. Enable automatic updates where possible and periodically check for new software versions.

Back Up Your Data

  • Back up important files either locally on an external drive or using a cloud-based service. This protects you against ransomware that may encrypt your data.

Watch Out for Suspicious Links

  • Think twice before clicking on links in emails, texts or social media messages. Hover over the URL to verify it leads to a legitimate destination.

Use Antivirus Protection

  • Install a reputable antivirus program to scan for malware regularly. This can sniff out and disable infections before they cause harm.

Monitor Kids‘ Online Use

  • Have open discussions with kids about internet safety. Set guidelines about revealing personal details and be vigilant about screen time limits and the websites they visit.

Staying secure in our digital age requires thoughtfulness. But a few commonsense habits can help you avoid the bulk of cyber headaches. Protect yourself so you can keep tapping into the internet‘s tremendous potential.

I hope reviewing these internet trends and safety tips helps provide some guidance. Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional questions!

Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *