Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Threats from cyber criminals underestimated

Almost ten percent of computer users have already fallen victim to data theft; security solutions from Avira ensure protection and prevention

Tettnang, 24 February 2010 – As IT security expert Avira discovered in its moral issue survey, conducted on www.free-av.com in January 2010, Internet users underestimate the risk of cyber criminals gaining illegal access to their data. The responses from the 5,578 respondents indicate that, while they are attentive to their security, they are completely unprepared for the ingenuity now being shown by cyber criminals. Clearly users need to increase their vigilance and actively protect themselves with extensive security solutions on their computers.

The survey showed that most users are fairly naïve when it comes to computer security. 49 percent of participating surfers (2,747) said that they had not yet noticed any attempts at data espionage.
However, the chances of detecting illegal access are quite small unless you have extensive security protection. After all, the days are long past when a computer would recognize unusual behavior or lose system performance because of a malware infection. Hackers are becoming more ingenious and malware is being programmed with greater sophistication, using new tricks so as to remain undetected for as long as possible. Viruses now try to stay undercover, instead of blocking computers.

The other surprising thing about the result of the moral issue survey is that many Internet users believe that attackers wouldn’t be interested in them because they have nothing worth hiding. 22 percent of respondents (1,229) wouldn’t be too worried if hackers were able to read their emails or view other information belonging to them. Avira has issued a warning to those deluded into believing that cyber criminals are only interested in highly secret data or huge bank accounts. The fact is that criminals can be satisfied just to steal computer capacity for remote control bot-nets or to acquire the identities of their victims for the purposes of concealing crime. This means that careless handling of one’s own data can lead to trouble with the authorities, as well as frequent financial losses.
A good four percent of those surveyed (243) were aware of this from bitter experience: They suffered concrete losses and found it necessary to discuss the matter with their bank.

A further almost six percent (313) had been the personal victims of identity theft. They found that outsiders had accessed their email, Facebook and Ebay accounts, for example.
Around ten percent of respondents have already been the victims of digital data theft.

As the Avira moral issue survey also reveals, other Internet users have learned from their bad experiences – or from anecdotal evidence. 19 percent (1,055) are particularly careful ever since they heard of an attack on someone they know and now take the appropriate steps to protect their security.

In addition to a protection program like Avira AntiVir Premium, which also filters out phishing sites, Avira also advises users to enter important web addresses manually. Anyone receiving a phishing email from an unknown source should avoid clicking on the links it contains at all costs and should immediately delete the message from their mailbox. Users should also make sure that they are using their bank’s official website when banking online. If they encounter any irregularities, they should report these in writing immediately to the bank or to the relevant consumer agencies.

Avira advises users to choose a security solution that not only protects against viruses, but also filters out undesirable websites and prevents illegal access to their computer. Avira’s free AntiVir Personal – Free offers private users basic protection against viruses, worms and Trojans. Avira also offers a number of more extensive security packages. The WebGuard included in Avira AntiVir Premium filters out malware from the data stream before it ever reaches the web browser. Avira Premium Security Suite provides all-round protection: it complements the features of Avira AntiVir Premium with a firewall to protect against attacks from the network, combats spam and performs backups. Avira also guarantees that all its products are “Made in Germany” and contain no backdoors for data espionage.

About Avira

More than 100 million consumers and small businesses depend upon Avira’s security expertise and award-winning antivirus software, making the company the number-two market share leader globally. Avira is ranked #1 in technology innovation according to ABI Research; recommended by Consumer Reports for its free antivirus software; cited by OPSWAT as the #1 fastest-growing antivirus vendor in 2012 and the #2 largest vendor worldwide in 2011; and has received a nearly unbroken string of Virus Bulletin VB100 awards for the past decade.

Avira provides IT-security protection to computers, smartphones, servers and networks, delivered as both software and cloud-based services. Visit www.avira.com.