Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Shoppers paying by bank card are still insufficiently security-conscious

Avira issues a warning against cybercrime as people do their Christmas shopping online: According to investigations by IT security specialist Avira, almost 30 percent of shoppers using bank cards and credit cards only have a rudimentary awareness of security precautions

Tettnang, 03 November 2009 – In a survey conducted on www.free-av.com in June 2009, IT security specialist Avira asked a total of 5,505 Internet users how careful they were when making payments using their cards. Feedback from users shows that almost 60 percent were acutely aware of the need for security, while around 30 percent of respondents are still an easy target for the criminals. A small proportion of users (621 respondents - a good 10 percent) avoid exposure to fraud by simply refusing to use the cashless payment options available.

27 percent of those surveyed (1,504 users) indicated that they were generally very careful when paying in shops, restaurants or gas stations and when withdrawing cash from ATMs. Some consumers are particularly careful when making payments with cards: 32 percent of respondents (1,784 users) claimed that they used their hand as a privacy shield when entering their PIN on the terminal.

Results show that 19 percent of users (1,044 respondents) are a lot less careful: According to their answers, they are quite unaware of possible security risks, whether shopping in the supermarket or making online purchases. A further 552 users revealed themselves to be similarly unaware of the risks: a considerable proportion of consumers - ten percent in all - indicated that they didn’t bother to take precautions when entering credit card or account data if they felt that there was no one looking.

“The threat is enormous when you consider that users will generally be completely unaware of spying software on their own computer. This category of malware includes so-called root kits. These register keyboard entries and log credit card numbers, PINs and TANs,” warns Travis Witteveen, Head of Sales & Marketing at Avira. “In recent years, the risks associated with the Internet have increased rather than declined. The only difference is that the public isn’t as aware of today’s malware as in the past. Modern spyware uses sophisticated stealth techniques to remain undetected for as long as possible, so that it can gather the maximum amount of data.”

Online purchases are particularly popular in the lead up to Christmas, making this a very lucrative time for cybercriminals. Avira advises all online shoppers to exercise caution when using their PIN numbers and other sensitive data and also urges them to use an established security software solution. Avira’s free AntiVir Personal offers basic protection against viruses, worms and Trojans. The Avira AntiVir Premium and Avira Premium Security Suite versions offer additional security, while the firewall and anti spam functions of the suite make it particularly effective in providing protection for online shopping and Internet banking transactions.

About Avira

Avira protects people in the connected world – enabling everyone to manage, secure, and improve their digital lives. The Avira umbrella covers a portfolio of security and performance applications for Windows, Android, Mac, and iOS. In addition, the reach of our protective technologies extends through OEM partnerships. Our security solutions consistently achieve best-in-class results in independent tests for detection, performance, and usability. Avira is a privately-owned company that employs 500 people. Its headquarters are near Lake Constance, in Tettnang, Germany, and the company has additional offices in Romania, India, Singapore, China, Japan & the United States. A portion of Avira's sales support the Auerbach Foundation, which assists education, children, and families in need. For more information about Avira visit www.avira.com.