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Internet study shows users are unaware of threats and risks
A study by Belake Research Ltd shows that North American internet users have little understanding about the threats and risks on the internet. They rate spam as a greater threat than phishing, and rate social networks as the least secure websites.
The top risk perceived by internet users is viruses, with 81% of users rating this as on of their top three risks. However, spam was second at 59%, which is surprising since it is more of a nuisance than a threat. Phishing attacks, which are a more significant threat to online security scored much lower at just 28% amongst users, less than half that of spam. This shows that users perceptions are out of line with the real level of risk these threat pose.
Internet users are also suspicious of websites' abilities to keep their details safe online. A security failure at a company that owns the website was perceived to be more significant than a phishing attack, with 30% of people rating this as in their top three threats. Companies still have a long way to go to convince users that their details are safe with them.
Social media has the most work to do to convince people that their services are secure. Despite being the second most common resource used on the internet (after email) they performed worst of 15 different services that were asked about, with just a third of social media users believing the service was secure.
Steve Long, Managing Director of Belake Research Ltd. said "we were surprised to find out much user's perceptions of threats were differed from the genuine risk that these threats posed. There is a real need for better education of internet users, so that they can understand the risks of the internet." He went on to say "there is a real issue for owners of social networking sites, who need to improve the perception their users have of the risk of using their services."
For more information, and to download a copy of the free report, please visit http://www.belake.com/
This information is taken from a survey of 307 internet users in the period November 2012 to January 2013. Participants selected from our North America survey panel to be representative of the North American demographic. Belake Research Ltd is an independent market research agency based in the UK, but working with a global client base. This report is part of our corporate social responsibility series of releases, providing insight into critical issues affecting consumers today.