Research reveals gap between online security perceptions and best practices
According to the latest research from the National Cyber Security Alliance and McAfee, many Americans may be suffering from a case of false confidence when it comes to their online safety and security.
In a study of more than 2,300 Americans, analysts discovered that more than 90 percent of respondents believe safe and secure internet is crucial to the nation's economic security. But when the matter is closer to home, many consumers may not be taking the proper precautions.
One of the primary concerns from today's parents is the challenge of raising their children in an increasingly digital age. Although 70 percent of survey respondents acknowledged that they are their child's primary resource for online security, less than half are confident that their son or daughter is navigating the web safely.
Parents may also have a misguided perception of which online threats are most prevalent and serious. The report revealed that just 7 percent of U.S. parents are concerned about cyberbullying, yet one in three children have been a victim, according to the Pew Internet and American Life Survey.
American adults also struggle to incorporate best practices into their own online behavior.
According to the report, one in five consumers do not believe it's necessary to change their account password regularly, and 25 percent reported that they never change a password unless prompted. With McAfee analysts discovering more than 1 million strands of password-stealing malware in the first six months of the year alone, experts encourage consumers to explore the wide range of password organizer solutions that could simplify the management of sensitive credentials.
"This new survey demonstrates the fundamental importance of better online safety and security awareness for ourselves, our communities, our schools and our businesses," according to McAfee co-president Todd Gebhart. "Consumers need to think beyond just PCs and also protect their web experiences, their data and - very importantly - their children on all the devices they use."
To help align their online behavior in alignment with best practices, consumers would be wise to observe some of the most prevalent threats observed by law enforcement officials. Within the study, unsecured wireless networks, a lack of password protection and fraudulent antivirus messages were cited as leading threats to online safety. Additionally, users were encouraged to come forward and report cybercrime incidents to help authorities recognize trends and apprehend perpetrators.