Security Market Segment LS
Sunday, 21 May 2006 19:45

Stolen info number one cyber fear says ITU survey

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Stolen personal information is the number one fear of internet surfers, followed closely by viruses and spyware, according to a new survey conducted by the International telecommunications Union (ITU).

A global opinion survey to assess trust of online transactions and awareness of cybersecurity measures was conducted by ITU in conjunction with World Telecommunication Day, celebrated on 17 May to commemorate the founding of ITU in 1865.

The results of the survey were released last week and, based on data from about 400 respondents, the survey found that opinion was evenly divided concerning safety of communication networks, including the internet, with 51% finding them safe, and 48% considering them unsafe. Only 1% found modern communication networks very safe while 55% considered them highly unsafe. Yet, as many as 60% reported feeling comfortable surfing the internet and conducting online transactions, with 40% experiencing some degree of discomfort.

Nearly 80% of respondents considered privacy to be an important consideration in the context of surfing on the internet. Opinion was more evenly divided on whether privacy was respected: 56% of respondents said that it was respected to some degree, while 44% felt it was poorly respected.

These concerns over privacy were reflected in users' fears while surfing, with theft of personal information the most commonly cited concern by 26% of respondents. Another 25% feared viruses and worms. Nearly 20% were worried about spyware, while scams and fraud ranked slightly lower (13%). Only 8% found spam something to be afraid of, rather than just a nuisance, perhaps reflecting a grudging acceptance of spam or improvements in filtering, according to the ITU report.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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