How well do users know their PCs?

By : |March 31, 2008 0

The first Annual Online Well-Being Survey by F-Secure revealed that while most respondents have security software installed on their PCs, many remain unsure that their e-mail is free of malware and other threats. This third-party survey of Internet users aged between 20 to 40 years in the US, UK, Canada, France and Germany, tested respondents’ knowledge of online security issues, loosely termed as their ‘security IQ’, and gauged their confidence in the safety of basic online activities.

The survey also showed that few consumers realize how frequently their security software’s anti-virus definitions need updating, and most respondents revealed a misplaced confidence that their definitions were up-to-date.

Understanding anti-virus protection

Though most respondents believed that their anti-virus software is up-to-date with the latest definitions, few correctly identified the frequency with which these definitions must be updated, suggesting a misplaced confidence. However, a majority of respondents correctly indi­cated that online security requires more than just anti-virus protection.

Consumers across all markets showed low confidence in the safety of basic e-mail activities. Only 10 percent of respondents are confident that they can open e-mail attachments without infecting their computers with malware. Confidence was lowest in the US, at seven percent while just nine percent of the respondents were confident that they could open links sent via e-mail without infecting their computers with malware.

Confidence was highest in the UK, at 15 percent, and lowest in France, at four percent.

24 percent of respondents are confident that they are safe from malware sent via e-mail. Confidence was highest in Germany at 31 percent and lowest in Canada at 17 percent.

General knowledge of online risks

The survey revealed that respondents have a basic understanding of online risks and the ways in which their computers could get infected with malware.

Around 95 percent of respondents have security software installed on their computers, but only 73 percent of respondents recognize that computers running anti-virus software with up-to-date virus definitions can still become infected with malware.

And 88 percent of respondents realize that malware can add their computers to a botnet used to send spam without their knowledge, whereas 16 percent of respondents were confident that files they download from websites are free from malware. 18 percent of respondents were confident that they are safe from malware spread by websites.

Consumers showed generally low confidence in their ability to identify phishing scams. 37 percent of respondents were confident that they could spot a phishing e-mail. Confidence was lowest in France at 26 percent.

 

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