SAN DIEGO, CA – The majority of people responding to a survey by Anonymizer Inc. are relying on methods that may not be adequate to protect their privacy and security online, the company said.
Seventy-five percent of respondents believed a firewall and another 62% believed anti-virus software both offered protection for their identity online. While firewalls and anti-virus software are important for protecting a computer, these tools do not provide a complete solution for protecting a user’s privacy and identity while online.
“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.”
We’re online continually, so we have had a few security breaches, but we follow much of the advice offered in the tips following the survey findings below.
Other findings from the survey include:
- Identity theft (45%), privacy (41%) and computer viruses (45%) made respondents the most nervous about being online.
- According to Consumer Reports, one in five people have been a victim of cybercrime(1). Despite this sobering statistic, 36% of respondents still believed their identity was secure online.
- Consumers are increasingly aware that their mobile devices are also vulnerable to malicious cyber activity. Only 28% believed their identity was secure on a mobile device.
- Who’s watching me: 85% of respondents were aware that they were being profiled by advertisers as they surfed the Internet, and 85% were aware that cybercriminals were stalking them without their knowledge.
Despite heightened consumer awareness of potential online risks, every three seconds an identity is stolen online(2).
During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Anonymizer encourages consumers to rethink their approach to online safety with these tips:
- 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. (That’s what Annonymizer sells).
- 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.
- (For more information on Wifi security see: www.timeatlas.com/reviews/reviews/wireless_hotspot_security
- 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.
- More online safety tips and information, including a detailed Internet security checklist, can be found in the Anonymizer Learning Center, www.anonymizer.com/learningcenter.
- Virginia’s Abraxas Corp. buys Anonymizer
- One in six personal computers is unprotected, McAfee says
- Ten tips on avoiding identity theft
- Five tips for protecting your identity during summer travel
- Free WiFi can lead to identity theft, hijacked accounts (infographic)
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