POST Online Media Lite Edition


US internet users concerned about their data, Australians are security-lazy

Staff writer |
US internet users remain concerned about the security of their information—especially when that information is in the hands of retailers, according to research from the Associated Press (AP) and GfK.

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Many of those surveyed in July 2015 expressed at least a modicum of concern about personal information security.

More than seven in 10 internet users (71%) were at least somewhat concerned about how well retailers could keep their personal information secure when they shopped on a website. Nearly half (45%) were very or extremely concerned, eMarketes reports.

In-store concern was lower: 66% of internet users were at least somewhat concerned about security when shopping in-store, though only 38% were very or extremely concerned. Still, that leaves a solid two-thirds of web users worried about the most common method of shopping there is to engage in.

A majority of internet users (56%) were at least somewhat concerned about security when purchasing via mobile—which may seem low unless you account for the fact that 26% of respondents did not make mobile purchases, vs. just 8% who didn't make online purchases and 3% who didn't buy in stores.

More than a third (36%) were very or extremely concerned, on a par with stores—and, again, more than a quarter of respondents weren't even participating.

AYTM Market Research found in August that 18% of US internet users were very concerned with online privacy and security, with another 19.7% responding with general concern. Only 5% responded that they were very unconcerned with privacy and security, so the issue is clearly one that affects vast swaths of US internet users whether retailers are involved or not.

A survey conducted by Harris Interactive provides some insight into just what they're worried about. Among the internet users surveyed, 45% cited fears about online hackers gaining access to their social security number, while personal banking information (27%) and credit card numbers (13%) were the next-most-frequent concerns. Only 4% responded that they had no concerns.

Millennials in Australia are well aware of the possibilities of cybercrime affecting them. In fact, many have been the victim of such crimes. But they do not seem to be eager to take steps to protect themselves, according to May 2015 polling.

Norton, in a survey conducted by Edelman Berland, found that a majority of internet users in Australia ages 18 to 34 had been affected by a computer virus.

In addition, 26% had been the victim of phishing scams, 16% had experienced online identity theft and nearly as many had experienced ransomware attacks, in which a device is affected by malware whose operators request a fee in exchange for releasing the victim’s PC or files.

Even more young adults in Australia who use the internet have concerns about what might happen to their data. More than six in 10 worried that their online information was not safe. Half were concerned about identity theft.

But most were not taking basic steps to protect their information, such as running security software, backing up their data or using strong passwords.

Nearly half did not understand how the settings on social media accounts worked, and nearly seven in 10 decided to forgo higher security settings on their devices.

A majority also did not bother protecting their home Wi-Fi networks with a password.

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