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Apathetic internet users make on-line criminals' lives easier.

PC Tools : 12 February, 2008  (Technical Article)
PC Tools warns of difficulty in improving internet safety standards due to user apathy particularly in the teenage community.
According to PC Tools, teenagers don't care enough about the threats of online hackers, all they want to do is play the latest cool online game or meet new friends in online chatrooms -leaving themselves wide open to internet attack.

The warning comes as the European Union unveils its "Safer Internet Day".

The anti-malware maker is supporting attempts to educate children, but says that many of the measures being proposed just won't make any difference unless the lessons being taught are carried through to everyday internet and online etiquette.

"We are all hoping that programmes such as this will drive parents and young web users to recognise and understand the dangers of the internet," said online security expert Mike Greene from PC Tools.

"Naivety and indifference fuel online crime through a mix of poor etiquette and out-of-date protection so it is imperative that parents and young users sit up and take notice."

Greene added that the "it won't happen to me" attitude is the root cause of many problems as young internet users leave themselves and their PC's exposed to botnets (which drive spam email messages), spyware and viruses.

"Our own research of 25,000 users found that an alarming 50% of UK consumers continue to download and file share regardless of the known risks, despite the fact that 80% of respondents had reported that their computer had been infected by malicious threats," said Greene.

One of the biggest concerns for parents is young users revealing personal information online through social networking sites, multiplayer gaming sites or chat rooms.

"Sex offenders are using the internet to groom victims. MySpace recently revealed it is working with law enforcement agencies to purge its site of sex offenders. Last year its purge of 29,000 sex offenders from the site is proof that social networks are targeted by paedophiles and stalkers but that sites are struggling to manage the problem. Where will these sex offenders go when they are de-registered? They will of course go to other sites or just keep changing their MySpace online identities; the threat will remain so users have to protect themselves."

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