A recent study conducted by Arbor Networks (News - Alert) revealed that Americans are very concerned about their security when using the Internet. Seventy-five percent of people who were surveyed reported that they were “concerned about their security, privacy, malware or websites tracking them.”
“The big takeaway from this survey is that the relentless headlines about cyber-attacks have led to anxiety among a vast majority of Americans,” said Christopher Gaebler, the Chief Marketing Officer at Arbor Networks. However, he went on, Americans are not doing enough to bolster their online security, despite their fears: “Ironically, this has not driven people to do more to protect themselves online, but quite the contrary. The survey suggested these same people have really poor online security practices - which only makes the attackers’ jobs easier. Although cyber-attacks are becoming more common, consumers are not powerless. In fact, there are basic steps people can take to protect themselves from the majority of online security threats.”
These practices can be as simple as not clicking on suspicious links from unknown senders, using more complex passwords, and using different passwords for different accounts. There are also anti-virus softwares that can be installed to help mitigate the risk of malware. However, despite the ease and simplicity of these measures, many Americans simply do not employ them.
One interesting finding that came out of this survey is that, while many Americans do not follow best practices for using the Internet, they expect the businesses they patronize to do so. Seventy percent of those who were surveyed reported that they would be concerned about shopping at an online retailer that had previously suffered a cyber attack, like the one Target (News - Alert) faced earlier this year. This should be a clear signal for IT professionals that they need to take the utmost care in preserving their data integrity and Internet security, in order to maintain the trust that customers have in their brand.