Nearly One in Five Americans Report Being Victimized Online
WASHINGTON, October 10, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nearly one in five Americans report being victim to a crime that was committed over the Internet, according to a survey by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and McAfee. October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, a coordinated national effort focusing on the need for improved online safety and security for all Americans and the study examines one of the month's focal topics: cybercrime and law enforcement.
Of those surveyed, 17 percent say they have been a victim of a crime that was committed over the Internet such as identity theft, data theft, bullying or auction fraud, and 29 percent know someone who has been a victim of such crimes. One in five Americans also had contact with someone on the Internet who made them feel uncomfortable through persistent emails, stalking or in other various ways.
When asked what puts Americans most at risk of a cybercrime or a loss of personal information the largest number of respondents, one-third (30 percent) said they believe connecting to an unsecured wireless network puts them most at risk while 22 percent said not having any or enough security software. Additionally, Americans' top two concerns while using the Internet include: identity theft (41 percent) and someone hacking into their (or their family's) financial information (13 percent).
The most cited concern for parents is adult sexual content, with 39 percent stating this is their biggest source of worry. Additionally, 27 percent of parents report the potential for their child to make contact with strangers when they are online is their biggest point of concern. Other concerns identified include bullying or harassment from peers (ten percent); identity theft (nine percent) – which is continuing to grow as an issue; portrayals of drug or alcohol use (three percent); long-term damage to their child's reputation (two percent).
"The Internet is an incredible resource for connecting with people but as we conduct more of our lives online, we must remain mindful that there are bad actors using it to track, harass or make unwanted contact, and these criminals are more resourceful than ever," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. "This data supports an ever-increasing need for online users to be vigilant in their actions each day. Working together, we can provide Americans with the tools and information they need to practice safe online behaviors during October and throughout the year."
NCSA continues to work with leading companies in the cyber industry to determine best practices for users to stay safe online. Roland Cloutier, vice president and chief security officer of ADP added, "Our goal is to shine a spotlight on cybercrime issues, and provide consumers, parents, and the law enforcement community with an engaging dialogue, tools and practical advice to protect against this growing problem. All Internet users must be educated to recognize cyber threats and how to take ongoing action to protect ourselves and our digital infrastructure from victimization."
Tom Kellermann, U.S. vice president of cybersecurity at TrendMicro, said: "The threats posed by cybercrime are very real and can impact every person and organization across the United States and around the world. By working together, we can learn how to prevent these acts to provide a safer community for all. We're proud to work together with the National Cyber Security Alliance this month and throughout the year to spread the word about steps we can all take to protect ourselves and our youth online."
NCSA is also continuing to work with local law enforcement and cybercrime organizations to help facilitate an increased awareness and uncover best practices with handling cybercrime issues. An example of such collaboration includes an event today in conjunction with National Cyber Security Awareness Month. NCSA board members and executives will join officials from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, local law enforcement and others in Miami, FL to discuss cybercrime issues such as credit card skimming, data breaches, viruses and malware and best practices with handling such crimes.
In addition to the research study and today's cybercrime focused event, NCSA is also introducing new collateral for victims of cybercrime. These resources include a pamphlet entitled, "If You Become a Victim of Cybercrime" and a coordinating brochure on tips and advice that were created with input from the National Sheriffs' Association and International Association of Chiefs of Police.
The publications are targeted to victims of malicious acts and detail the realities of cybercrime, how to report cybercrime and who to contact, how to collect and keep evidence of victimization, information on specific types of cybercrime, and additional links for information. These materials can be found at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/protect-your-personal-information/id-theft-and-fraud.
NCSA also advises all Internet users to access the Web using these three simple steps: STOP. THINK. CONNECT. All Internet users should take security measures, understand the consequences of their behavior and actions and enjoy the benefits of the Internet. Here are some additional tips and advice:
- When in doubt, throw it out: Links in email, tweets, posts, and online advertising are often the way cybercriminals compromise your computer. If it looks suspicious, even if you know the source, it's best to delete or if appropriate, mark as junk email.
- Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
- Protect your Money: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security enabled. Look for Web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.
- Think before you act: Be wary of communication that implores you to act immediately, offers something that sounds too good to be true, or asks for personal information.
- Back it up: Protect your valuable work, music, photos, and other digital information by making an electronic copy and storing it safely.
- Help the authorities fight cybercrime: Report stolen finances or identities and other cybercrime to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (www.ic3.gov) and to your local law enforcement or state attorney general as appropriate.
For additional information on how to prevent cybercrime before it happens, check out the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Campaign at http://stopthinkconnect.org/tips-and-advice/. NCSAM supporters can get the latest news and updates on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline and on Twitter at @StaySafeOnline. The official Twitter hashtag of NCSAM is #ncsam. The National Cyber Security Awareness Month Web Portal is also available at: http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncsam/ and a calendar of additional NCSAM events can be found at: http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/events.
NCSA also welcomes organizations to show their support for NCSAM by becoming an official NCSAM Champion and submitting their registration at:
JZ Analytics conducted the online safety survey. The survey firm, founded by John Zogby, surveyed 1,000 adults nationwide from August 31, 2012 to September 3, 2012. The margin of error is +/- 3.2 percentage points and margins of error are higher in sub-groups. The full study and fact sheet are available at: http://staysafeonline.org/ncsam/resources/.
About The National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance is a non-profit organization. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, non-profit and academic sectors, the mission of the NCSA is to educate and empower a digital citizenry to use the Internet securely and safely protecting themselves and the technology they use and the digital assets we all share. NCSA board members include: ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, EMC Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, McAfee, Microsoft, PayPal, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), Symantec, Trend Micro, Verizon and Visa. Visit www.staysafeonline.org for more information and join us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/staysafeonline.
McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC), is the world's largest dedicated security technology company. McAfee delivers proactive and proven solutions and services that help secure systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world, allowing users to safely connect to the Internet, browse and shop the Web more securely. Backed by its unrivaled Global Threat Intelligence, McAfee creates innovative products that empower home users, businesses, the public sector and service providers by enabling them to prove compliance with regulations, protect data, prevent disruptions, identify vulnerabilities, and continuously monitor and improve their security. McAfee is relentlessly focused on constantly finding new ways to keep our customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com
About STOP. THINK. CONNECT. The campaign was developed by the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Messaging Convention, a public-private partnership established in 2009 and led by The Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG) and National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) to develop and support a national cybersecurity awareness campaign. The Department of Homeland Security provides the Federal Government's leadership for the campaign. Industry, government, non-profits and education institutions participate in STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Learn how to get involved at the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/STOPTHINKCONNECT, on Twitter at @STOPTHNKCONNECT, and the campaign website at www.stopthinkconnect.org.
SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance