Consumer awareness of phishing attacks has doubled between 2007 and 2009 and the number of consumers who reported falling prey to this attack increased six times during that same period of time, says the Global Online Consumer Security Survey from RSA, The Security Division of EMC.
In addition, says the survey, while hundreds of thousands of people join social networking websites each day, the survey exposed that nearly two in three (65 percent) people who belong to these online communities indicated they are less likely to interact or share information due to their growing security concerns.
"Fraudsters continue to fine-tune their array of tactics that result in millions of computers becoming infected with Trojans and other malware," says Christopher Young, senior vice president at RSA. "These online criminals are adept at social engineering with at-the-ready phishing attacks that are launched within moments of breaking news about popular celebrities, professional athletes or serious global events. In these cases, people are lured to legitimate websites infected with malware as well as complete fakes designed to look like well-known news sources. Within these websites, Trojans can easily be masked as 'required' updates to a media player which can result in countless computers becoming infected with malware. While it's difficult to prevent consumers from visiting these websites, we can do a better job of protecting those who do."
The RSA survey revealed that consumers using online banking (86 percent) websites shared more concern with the theft of their personal information than those using healthcare portals (64 percent) and government websites (68 percent). As a result of these concerns, more than half of all consumers reported that they are less likely to share information and interact on these websites.
Consumers agreed that their identities should be better protected than a simple username and password on social networking (59 percent), healthcare (64 percent), government (70 percent) and online banking (80 percent) websites. Nine in ten consumers are willing to use a stronger form of security if offered.
Young continued, "Consumer education and awareness is one of the first lines of defense in the ongoing battle against online crime. Organizations will continue to take advantage of the many benefits offered by the Internet and consumers will seek the convenience offered online – all despite the inherent risks. In order to maximize the full value of what the online world can offer, organizations need to take a layered approach to Internet security in order to best protect their customers' information."