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Internet Users in Europe, North America Unsure of E-mail Security

According to the software security vendor F-Secure, which conducted a survey with a third party in January 2008, while majority of the respondents have installed security software on their computers, many are unsure about whether their e-mail is malware-free or safe from other cyber threats.

The study involved 1,160 Internet users in the age group of 20-40 years across the UK (227 respondents), Canada (228 respondents), the US (225 respondents), Germany (224 respondents), and France (256 respondents).

The survey found how few users realized the need for frequent update of their antivirus software while majority of the respondents showed a misplaced trust that their software are up-to-date.

It showed that although people using the Internet in Europe and North America basically understand the issues of online security, yet they lack the confidence about security of their primary online activities. With similar online confidence and knowledge about security, the German respondents showed strikingly trust less on online banking and e-commerce security in comparison to respondents from other countries. However, the German respondents demonstrated a significantly good understanding of the frequent need to update antivirus definitions.

Expressing concern about consumers' misplaced trust, Chief Research Officer, Mikko Hypponen at F-Secure, said that he is disturbed about how so many Internet users are fully confident that their antivirus software up-to-date, while missing out on how essential it is to frequently update them. Hypponen also said that it also shows the urgency for users to use a reliable source's security and professional services, as reported by Earthtimes February 28, 2008.

The security of e-mail is certainly not a new issue, given that e-mail remains a popular instrument to distribute malware, and its users naturally remain concerned about attachments infecting their systems.

While e-mail attachments still spread malware, there are other techniques too like 'drive-by downloads' that increasingly spread malware. Consumers need to be aware of that as well.

F-Secure's researchers have therefore suggested that effective security products should fully equip users to have the best of the Internet without having to worry about security risks and vulnerabilities. These should provide a true sense of well being on the net, the researchers said.

Related article: Internet Threat Volumes Overwhelm Security Companies

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