Insights •Insurance• 04.04.2017 • Presented by AXA Luxembourg
Just because it’s virtual doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Although it may have only been around for some 30 years, the internet has largely taken over our lives. For some, it serves as a mine of useful information; for others, it’s a shopping mall. One thing is clear: the digital life is here to stay. But is this always for the better?
Close your eyes and try to imagine the sound of waves, the sun on your skin and warm sand between your fingers. It’s not a dream: you’re on a deserted island, sitting in the shade of coconut trees, gazing at the water and its turquoise hues.
Indeed, we all long to get away from the daily grind from time to time--for a little peace and quiet. And a bit of solitude can do each of us a world of good.
And yet, you can bet on it, if people were asked what they would take with them to a deserted island, the internet--and its social networks--would likely be a top answer.
Why? Because the internet allows you to be alone without truly being alone, and it has become such an integral part of our lives. In Europe, for example, we spend an average of 4 hours a day online, and we aren’t alone: of the world’s 7bn people, 50% are internet users.
For all its different facets, the internet keeps expanding its offering: from email to instant messaging, storage tools, search engines, encyclopaedias, blogs, and more. In short, it’s clear you can do practically everything on the internet these days.
Our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Sooner or later, our pay checks and other documents, photos, videos, music and more end up on our computers, or on someone else’s.
The internet is truly everywhere, with its social networks being scoured even for recruitment purposes--something to keep in mind before posting those photos from your late night out!
An image already occupies a key place in reality, but its effect can be multiplied in the virtual world. Some companies have understood this and are nurturing their “e-reputation”. And rightly so: 96% of internet users pay attention to ratings and opinions, and 93% of them will back out of a purchase if they read negative comments.
The internet marks the end of spatial and temporal boundaries. “Cyber-harassment” has never been such a hot topic: it’s as if the distance created by the screen waives the need for empathy. This begs the question: are we becoming robots? Algorithms are capturing our daily lives, decisions, and shopping and travel habits so effectively that we end up following the commands of internet giants without flinching.
We live in an increasingly interconnected world with connected objects, home automation, self-driving cars. These are all evolutions that make our lives easier but are also likely to be the target of cyber-attacks. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers puts the cost of this new crime at more than $400bn globally--and more than $2trn in 5 years!
With this in mind, we need to change our attitudes and protect our data as effectively as possible. While using common sense is a first step, there are also solutions available to secure our digital lives, and AXA was among the first to make these solutions available.
Have you bought an item on the internet that doesn’t work but the e-merchant is refusing your request to refund or exchange it? Has a third party taken out a loan in your name with your ID card? Was your account debited for an online purchase that you never made? Are you the victim of a smear campaign on social media? Is the “e-reputation” of your business under attack?
AXA defends your interests, informs you about your rights and obligations, compensates you in case of a loss, and brings in experts to remove information harmful to your reputation.
 Source: Médiamétrie, Orange Lab, France, September 2016
 Source: Le Monde, “Les assureurs sur la brèche face à l’explosion des cyberattaques” (“Insurers on edge in the face of spiralling cyber-attacks”, 8 March 2017