Wednesday, October 29, 2008

National Cyber Security Survey Finds Americans More Wary of Cyber Crime

PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More and more Americans are conducting online banking, stock trading and health management, but nearly 60 percent of Americans say that the risks of identity theft have changed their online behaviors, according to a recent survey conducted by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

More than 40 percent of Americans said that they only visit Web sites that they are familiar with and 20 percent said that they have stopped or limited their online purchases. The change in behaviors is perhaps not so surprising when you consider that, of those surveyed, 22 percent claimed they had their identity misused to compromise a bank account, steal a credit card number or take out an unauthorized loan.

More than 73 percent of those surveyed said they use the Internet to bank, trade stocks or review personal medical information so the violation of trust that an online security breach can cause is massive. When Americans were asked if having their bank account or credit card account robbed of $5,000 was worse than having their home broken into and robbed of $5,000, 51% said online fraud was worse. Only 37% said the home break-in was worse and 12% were not sure.

"The convenience of conducting part of our lives online has transformed the way we live, but it's not without risk," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. "Only visiting Web sites that you trust is one aspect of good online security. In addition, home users should be vigilant about keeping their anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall up-to-date and use unique passwords that contain numbers, letters and symbols. These tools combined with good online behavior equal good cyber security."

The survey also found that:

-- 53 percent of Americans use the same online password for multiple
-- 68 percent surveyed store more than a quarter of their photographs
-- 63 percent for respondents said that they back up sensitive
information from their computers

For the survey, NCSA commissioned a Zogby online poll of more than 3,000 Americans. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 1.6%.

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