A Microsoft survey has revealed that 40% of Americans experience weekly or daily fraudulent attempts to access their personal computers and valuable data. Let that sink in.
Breaking that statistic further reveals that by device, 40% of Americans reporting online attacks on their PCs, 18% via their phone, 28% via landline telephones, and 22% via tablets. These attacks are weekly, or up to daily.
While these are worrisome numbers, the survey shows significant actions taken by individuals to protect their data, with special focus on their PC’s, the most targeted device. American Internet users take an average of five steps to protect their PCs, three steps to protect their mobile devices, and eight steps to protect their personal information general.
While the focus is on PCs, 73% of respondents to the survey take steps to protect their mobile devices, compared to 48% in a similar survey two years ago. To protect their phones, users take the following steps: 49% are downloading apps from trusted companies or publishers, compared to 21% two years ago; 41% are regularly updating mobile programs and apps, compared to 17% from two years ago; 39% are always using a PIN or passcode to lock their device, compared to 21% from two years ago; 37% are opting for a more current OS, compared to 21% from two years ago.
The statistics of these results go from ‘meh,’ to alarming. Starting with the ‘meh,’ is the PIN/Password response. This depends a lot on your use cases, so the statistics by themselves don’t tell us much. I, myself, rarely apply a lock, and I’d like to think my phone is safe, especially at home. And while the most current OS isn’t necessary, it does help radically in that new security features are generally always added. Less than 50% of people, however, practice good practices when it comes to apps. You don’t have to scrutinize every permission the app requests, but do try to use trustworthy sources (Microsoft has a lot to lose by violating your privacy, a random developer half way around the world does not).
Microsoft has a lot to lose by violating your privacy, a random developer half way around the world does not. Also, update is a must, as any bugs or vulnerabilities found can only be patched through updates.
If you want to read the full details of the survey, including the major types of scams, which ones most people are worried about, which type of scams are getting more popular, and how to start protecting yourself from identity theft, go here.Further reading: Microsoft, Security