Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Avira research shows computer users leave room for blackmail

Not having a backup makes users vulnerable to blackmail, but most of them are prepared for a loss of data.

Tettnang, 13 July 2010 – IT security expert Avira asked 2,917 participants of its May survey on www.free-av.com if they would have to pay a ransom in case of a loss or kidnapping of their data. The survey results bring to light that quite a few users aren’t very concerned and would easily fall victim to blackmail. However, most of the respondents did not have to worry about extortion because they regularly backed up their data.

Around 16 percent of the surfers (496) admitted they save photos, data and personal files on their PCs but do not create regular backups. If a data disaster or outbreak of a blackmail Trojan were to happen, all personal information, photos and addresses would be at risk. A ransom Trojan and a possible loss of files would catch them unprepared and cause them serious damage. Hence they confess they would be ready to pay a high amount to reclaim possession of the data. The survey also showed an alarming figure of 8 percent (233) that already fell victim to this type of data theft and had to pay a ransom.

If you pay, you are at risk

Blackmail Trojans sneak just as easily onto PCs as any other malware. Avira strongly recommends that if you are attacked and blackmailed to pay for your data, you should not do it under any circumstances. Usually the victim is directed to a website where credit card information is collected. This site is used only to gather credit card data and to cause further financial damage to the victims by selling this data to third parties.

Furthermore, the victims should report the blackmail to the police and take general precautions, such as performing regular backups on an external hard drive and using a complete antivirus solution to detect and eliminate Trojans. Such a comprehensive solution is Avira Premium Security Suite, with the integrated Backup System.

Most users play it safe

Unlike those unprepared for data loss, a third of the respondents (968) take great care of their files. They act very prudent and save their data regularly. 25 percent (739) use their computers just for surfing and do not keep important files on them – an attempt to blackmail would not affect them at all. Furthermore, 18 percent (518) of the surfers said they could survive data loss since they don’t store personal data on their PCs.

The best insurance against data loss is an effective IT security solution combined with regular backups. Avira provides free basic protection with Avira AntiVir Personal – Free Antivirus. More extensive protection comes from Avira AntiVir Premium, which uses the WebGuard and MailGuard to filter out malware before it lands in the Web browser, which prevents it from reaching your computer. The license for one year costs $31.99.

The answer for all-round protection is Avira Premium Security Suite, as it supplements the features of Avira AntiVir Premium with a firewall to protect you against Internet attacks, a parental control feature, and a backup function. The solution is available for $51.99.

Avira survey 2010 Data Loss

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.