As IT security expert Avira discovered in its moral issue survey, conducted on www.free-av.com in January 2010, Internet users underestimate the risk of cyber criminals gaining illegal access to their data. The responses from the 5,578 respondents indicate that, while they are attentive to their security, they are completely unprepared for the ingenuity now being shown by cyber criminals. Clearly users need to increase their vigilance and actively protect themselves with extensive security solutions on their computers.
The survey showed that most users are fairly naïve when it comes to computer security. 49 percent of participating surfers (2,747) said that they had not yet noticed any attempts at data espionage.
However, the chances of detecting illegal access are quite small unless you have extensive security protection. After all, the days are long past when a computer would recognize unusual behavior or lose system performance because of a malware infection. Hackers are becoming more ingenious and malware is being programmed with greater sophistication, using new tricks so as to remain undetected for as long as possible. Viruses now try to stay undercover, instead of blocking computers.
The other surprising thing about the result of the moral issue survey is that many Internet users believe that attackers wouldn’t be interested in them because they have nothing worth hiding. 22 percent of respondents (1,229) wouldn’t be too worried if hackers were able to read their emails or view other information belonging to them. Avira has issued a warning to those deluded into believing that cyber criminals are only interested in highly secret data or huge bank accounts. The fact is that criminals can be satisfied just to steal computer capacity for remote control bot-nets or to acquire the identities of their victims for the purposes of concealing crime. This means that careless handling of one’s own data can lead to trouble with the authorities, as well as frequent financial losses.
A good four percent of those surveyed (243) were aware of this from bitter experience: They suffered concrete losses and found it necessary to discuss the matter with their bank.
A further almost six percent (313) had been the personal victims of identity theft. They found that outsiders had accessed their email, Facebook and Ebay accounts, for example.
Around ten percent of respondents have already been the victims of digital data theft.
As the Avira moral issue survey also reveals, other Internet users have learned from their bad experiences – or from anecdotal evidence. 19 percent (1,055) are particularly careful ever since they heard of an attack on someone they know and now take the appropriate steps to protect their security.