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Survey: Consumers Don’t Protect Themselves Enough Online

Image: Aloysius Patrimonio

Anonymizer, Inc. yesterday revealed the results of a survey, which found that while consumers were very aware of the risks associated with being online and engaging in e-commerce, the majority relied on inadequate measures to protect their privacy and identity.

Seventy five percent of respondents believed a firewall and another 62 percent believed anti-virus software both offered protection for their identity online. While firewalls and anti-virus software are important for protecting a computer, these tools do not provide a complete solution for protecting a user’s privacy and identity while online, Anonymizer said.

“Online identity theft is much more common than we think and consumers are inundated with conflicting information about what they need to do to protect themselves as they surf the web,” said Bill Unrue, president of Anonymizer. “Consumers need to realize that the steps they take to protect their computer system are not the same measures they need to safeguard their privacy and identity when they’re online. Firewalls and anti-virus software simply aren’t enough.”

The survey also found that identity theft, privacy and computer viruses made respondents the most nervous about being online.

During National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Anonymizer encourages consumers to rethink their behavior on the Internet with these tips:

* Have a Plan: Complete Internet security must include the four aspects of privacy and identity protection, computer system protection, browser protection, and a fraud-alert service.
* Hide Your IP Address: An IP address reveals a lot of information–from location to browser type–which can be exploited by cyber crooks. Users are encouraged to install software that hides their IP address.
* Use Wi-Fi Protection: When accessing the Internet through a Wi-Fi hotspot, users should use an online anonymity product that cloaks their identity through an encrypted VPN tunnel.
* Think Twice Before You Type: Users of social-networking sites are urged to never post personal information they would not want just anyone to know.

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