Anonymizer announced the results of a recent consumer survey, and some of the findings were surprising.
- 75% of respondents believed a firewall and another
- 62% believed anti-virus software both offered online identity theft protection. Firewalls are used to protect a computer against rogue and malicious intrusions. Anti-virus software scans files, hard drives etc in an attempt to keep out infection; however, neither of these applications offer any identity theft or online privacy protection of any kind.
- When respondents were asked what made them the most nervous about being online, the following was discovered: Identity Theft 45%, Privacy 41%, Computer Viruses 45%
- 36% believe their identity is secure online.
- 28% believe their identity is secure on a mobile device.
- 85% were aware they are being profiled by advertisers and stalked by cybercriminals without their knowledge.
“Online identity theft is much more common than we think and consumers are inundated with conflicting information about what they need to do to protect themselves as they surf the Web,” said Bill Unrue, president of Anonymizer. “Consumers need to realize that the steps they take to protect their computer system are not the same measures they need to safeguard their privacy and identity when they’re online. Firewalls and anti-virus software simply aren’t enough.” In support of Mr Unrue’s claims, Consumer Reports states that 1 in 5 consumers have been the victim of a cybercrime.
October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, and Anonymizer offers these tips to online safety:
“– Have a Plan: Complete Internet security requires a thorough, four-prong approach that must include: privacy and identity protection, computer system protection, browser protection, and a fraud alert service. — Hide Your IP Address:An IP address reveals seemingly harmless information – such as your city, state, Zip code, and browser type – which can be exploited by prying eyes. Install software that hides your IP address, and thus your identity and online activities, from criminals, search engines, and advertisers. — Use Wi-Fi Protection: Virus and malware protection do not protect you from cybercriminals who might be lurking on unsecure connections. When accessing the Internet through a Wi-Fi hotspot – whether through a computer or mobile device – use an online anonymity product that shields your identity by passing all of your searches and information through an encrypted VPN tunnel. — Think Twice Before You Type:Social networking sites are prime areas for cybercriminals to mine for personal information so beware of what you post. And never post personal information on any site that you wouldn’t want just anyone to know. Even if you delete this information later, nothing ever truly disappears on the Web.”
Anonymizer also offers a detailed learning center featuring tips, information and n Internet Security Checklist at: http://www.anonymizer.com/learningcenter.