Online Security Myths – Are you webwise?
What confuses PC & Mobile users?
With surveys popping up everywhere about IT security and the continuous revelations about hacking one thing stands out more than anything else, and that is the myths regarding security and what end users think they know and the fact that they are not as security conscious as they think, and do not take seriously the implications of their online activity.
A survey of over 15,000 users in 11 countries by G Data Security Software uncovered a startling fact: Users are thinking about security, but what they know is light years out-of-date or completely wrong. The report highlighted that the majority of internet users, regardless of age, sex or nationality, are aware that there are threats on the Internet, but a lot of what they know is outdated and was only really relevant in the 90s and early 2000 period. So many users are relying on very out-of-date facts to protect themselves.
For this reason we have compiled a list of the top myths and added up-to-date facts about them.
Myth 1: 80% + believe there is no difference between free and paid for antivirus.
Myth: Free antivirus software offers the same level of protection and security as the paid-for antivirus and security packages.
Fact: Although fairly good, free security software products only offer basic protection. Paid-for products will offer better protection with features like behavioural-based protection on top of the signature-based protection that free products offer, social-network protection and virtual keyboard (for things like online banking). Quite a few paid-for packages also come with backup software and rescue software and rescue disk creation to help if you do get caught with some type of malware.
Myth 2: My security came with my new PC so I am safe.
Myth: I know I have a security suite installed on my PC as it came with my new system so I am protected.
Fact: Most PCs come bundled with a trial demo of some security software but these generally only last for a 3-6 months. If your PC is more than 6 months old or you don’t remember giving a security company your authorization to activate or upgrade your protection, you are not completely safe.
Myth 3: Over 90% believe they would know if their PC has been compromised.
Myth: If my PC or laptop becomes infected, I will be able to notice it straight away.
Fact: All types of malware are appearing every day. Most modern malware will not display any type of behaviour that you will notice like slowing down your system or crashing it.
Myth 4: Malware comes from illegal file sharing sites
Myth: Most malware is downloaded from peer-to-peer downloads or torrent sites.
Fact: Most malware comes from rogue websites that are made to look “normal” and compromised legitimate sites.
Myth 5: Around 48% of internet users believe that just visiting an infected website can’t infect you.
Myth: You cannot get infected just by visiting an infected website.
Fact: Drive-by downloads mean that you can get infected by simply visiting the website as the threats will install themselves without your knowledge.
Myth 6: Most malware is spread through attachments in email.
Myth: Over 54% of users still believe that malware comes from attachments in email and can’t be infected any other way.
Fact: These days the biggest risks are malicious websites. Even popular sites like Facebook and Twitter can infect your PC if they have had pages hijacked.
Myth 7: My firewall will stop most threats
Myth: My firewall will stop most threats including drive-by downloads.
Fact: While firewalls are very important, you need to rely on other security software with it. Firewalls also can’t detect malware trying to phone home.
Myth 8: I am safe as I don’t visit many sites, especially “risky” ones.
Myth: I do not ever visit risky websites so I am safe from online threats and drive-by downloads.
Fact: Hackers are compromising legitimate websites all the time, also adding malicious ads that anyone can fall victim too.
Myth 9: I have to open a file to get infected.
Myth: Many users think that if they do not open an infected file, they won’t get infected with malware.
Fact: In most cases that is true, but attackers can do it for you, or trick the operating system to do it with existing security holes. That is why it is important to update the Operating System (OS) and other software.
Myth 10: Cyber criminals are not interested in my PC.
Myth: Consumers in general think that cyber-criminals are not interested in their system as it is of no importance, and so do not usually use secure passwords.
Fact: Consumer PC and laptops contain plenty of personal data that is valuable to a cyber-criminal; your system can even be used to send mail and other threats. Another thing to remember is that key logging software can be secretly installed on your computer and record every key stroke you make. Even if the information (like your address, social security or credit card numbers) isn’t stored on your computer, chances are you’ve typed it in more than a few times.
Myth 11: My smartphone and tablet are safe.
Myth: Malware is something I should only worry about for my desktop and laptop computers.
Fact: Users seem to think their mobile device is immune from threats. The truth is that any Internet-connected device, like a smartphone or tablet, can be infected by online threats. Additionally, cybercrime is on the rise for mobile devices (mobile malware families increased by 58 percent last year).