Most surfers still ignoring IT security

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Most surfers still ignoring IT security

Insecurity through ignorance.

Most Web surfers are at risk of potentially devastating hack attacks because they have failed to take basic IT security precautions.

About three in four US online adults (74 percent) have not installed a hardware firewall, and about half (53 percent) have neglected to install a software firewall, research conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Check Point claimed today.

The report found that less than one in four (22 percent) have installed a security software suite to protect against spyware and viruses. When making purchases online, 97 percent of online shoppers use their credit card to complete transactions, however, 44 percent do not always check for SSL security certificates when making purchases.

"As we begin the holiday shopping season this year, we want consumers to understand that internet security is no longer only about protecting your PC, it’s about protecting you. Even with all the hype surrounding ID theft and hacking attacks, the online population is still largely unaware of steps to take in order to protect themselves,” said Laura Yecies, general manager of Check Point’s ZoneAlarm consumer division.

The survey also shows that 72 percent of adult Web surfers feel as safe now as they did at this time last year, and 13 percent feel less safe.

Check Point's Top 10 Tips to stay safe online

1. Purchase gifts through well-known online retailers that disclose full contact information. Just because an online store has a nifty website doesn't mean it has good business practices.

2. Always ensure that online financial transactions are secure by checking the bottom right corner of the browser window. A little yellow lock will appear on secure sites.

3. Check your bank statements regularly and investigate suspicious charges.

4. Do not give out personal or financial information in response to unsolicited email. Do not click links in any email when conducting financial transactions.

5. If you think you've been phished, immediately visit www.consumer.gov/idtheft.

6. Do not believe a sob story. Criminals will use guilt to convince you to donate - but a real charity will spell out its cause.

7. Always donate to charities directly, even after receiving emails requesting donations.

8. When participating in online auctions, check the seller's references and feedback ratings. If purchasing a high-value item, consider using an online escrow service.

9. Do not use your primary email address when shopping since you may inadvertently be signed up for excessive newsletters or marketing emails. Use a disposable account.

10. Do not venture online without securing your PC. A good firewall is essential, and antivirus, anti-spyware and spam protection are also critical. Keep up with security update downloads.
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