Survey: Consumers Fail at Protecting Identity, Privacy Online

While most consumers know about the risks associated with using the Internet and engaging in e-commerce, the majority still relies on inadequate measures to protect their privacy and identity, according to a new survey by Anonymizer, Inc.

An overwhelming majority of respondents believed a firewall and an anti-virus software offered adequate protection for their identity online. However, while those tools are important safety measures, they are addressing a very different threat, Anonymizer’s chief scientist Lance Cottrell wrote on the company’s Privacy Blog.

Online identity theft is much more common than people realize and consumers are overwhelmed 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,” he said. “Firewalls and anti-virus software simply aren’t enough.”

The survey also revealed consumers are increasingly aware their mobile devices are vulnerable to malicious cyber activity. Only 28 percent believed their identity was secure on a mobile device. And 85 percent of respondents were aware they were being profiled by advertisers as they surfed the Internet, and 85 percent knew cyber crooks were stalking them without their knowledge.

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