Oz Ignores Online Threats

Research by security software specialist PC Tools shows 84 percent of Australians don’t have adequate protection against online threats

PC Tools today released the results of a worldwide survey that analyses web surfer’s security savvy and shows Australian’s attitude towards online threats as being lackadaisical at best.

Highlights of the survey include:

  • Australians were the most lax with security software, with 25 percent of respondents unsure about what type of security software they had installed (compared to the world average of 1 percent, 14 percent for the UK, 12 percent for France and 10 percent for Germany) and 55 percent of respondents admitting they ignore alerts from their security software (compared to the world average of 14 percent, 27 percent for France and 27 percent for Germany).
  • Australians were also the least knowledgeable about new infection techniques, with only 51 percent of respondents aware that they could by infected by Malware through an Instant Message – compared to a global average of 82 percent, 81 percent in the UK, 79 percent in France and 52 percent in Germany).
  • A cautious 9 percent of Germans will delete any link or file sent to them by email, instant messenger or social networking sites, compared to 8 percent of respondents in Benelux, 4% in Australia, 2 percent in France and less than 1 percent in the UK.
  • The French are most likely to use the same password across all websites – 56 percent compared to 45 percent in Benelux, 35 percent in the UK, 31 percent in Australia and as few as 16 percent in Germany.

Commenting on the PC Tools research, Michael Greene, Vice President Product Strategy, said: “The results of this survey show that while Australians are definitely security conscious, they lack the security savvy to protect themselves online, with the majority leaving themselves wide open to cybercrime because they aren’t aware of how the latest threats operate and don’t have the right security software.

Other findings included:

  • Only 16 percent of respondents reported having comprehensive protection against viruses, spyware and other malware (i.e. they used a Security Suite or a combination of point solutions such as AntiVirus, AntiSpyware and AntiSpam) and an alarming 25 percent of respondents didn’t know what type of security software they had installed.
  • Only 2 percent of respondents were aware that the best way of protecting against new and unknown threats is to use Behavioural Protection.
  • 31 percent use the same password across all websites.
  • 35 percent of respondents did not update their security software regularly, with 16 percent doing it “rarely” and 10 percent never updating.
  • 55 percent of respondents ignore alerts from their security software.

Research also revealed that Australians have a low level of awareness of key methods of infection online:

  • Only 51 percent of respondents were aware that they could by infected by Malware through an Instant Message and only 61 percent were aware that they could be infected through Social Networking.
  • 45 percent of respondents open attachments or links sent from a friend or contact straight away, without checking them for legitimacy.
  • 15 percent of respondents thought that if they only visited legitimate websites they could ensure their safety online.

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