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Handbook provides advice on safe on-line shopping.

Webroot Software : 21 November, 2007  (New Product)
Webroot releases findings of the latest report on online consumer security trends for internet users in the run up to the holiday season and accompanies this report with a guide containing tips on more secure on-line shopping.
Webroot Software has reported the results of its latest research, "the State of Internet Security: Protecting Consumers Online". According to the report, shopping online is expected to increase worldwide this holiday season along with the threats to online shoppers. The report revealed that a surprisingly large number of Internet users are not taking the steps necessary to ensure their privacy and personal information while online shopping. This lack of precaution will put them at risk of becoming a victim of cyber crime. The report further discusses specific risks, how to identify them and how to protect against cyber threats.

"Today's cyber criminals are financially motivated and this is a key money-making season for them. With high percentages of online shoppers using their credit and debit cards unaware of the security risks or necessary precautions, it's going to be open season for cyber criminals," said Nick Banks, Managing Director EMEA, Webroot Software. "Last year we saw a 173 percent spike in spyware in the October to December time frame. Twenty percent of that spike involved new malware; clearly, these thieves are literally breaking out their finest new malware for the season."

"The State of Internet Security: Protecting Consumers Online" report found that seven out of 10 respondents worldwide are not concerned about the security of transactions. Correspondingly, 70 percent of online shoppers express no misgivings about entering their credit card number when making an online purchase. However, one out of every seven respondents worldwide has fallen victim to some form of online fraud, including stolen credit card numbers, stolen bank account information, or some other form of identity theft.

In the United States, that number was even higher. Over one in five online shoppers in the U.S. suffered online fraud, stolen bank or credit card numbers or identity theft. At the other end of the spectrum, one of the safest countries for online shoppers is Japan, which might be because they have the largest number of people shopping on the Web with mobile phones and devices that are secured by wireless providers. Of the Japanese online shoppers who use Windows-based PCs, 39.9 percent don't have any spyware protection at all.

Report Highlights:.

* Almost 70 percent of respondents had no concern about online transaction security.
* One in seven respondents has been a victim of either online fraud, a stolen bank or credit card number, or identity theft.
* Only 20 percent will alter the amount of online shopping they do despite the risks because of the convenience.
* Thirty percent will not check their credit reports (in countries where applicable) to determine if they have a problem.
* Almost 40 percent do not have an antispyware software program safe-guarding their computer.

In conjunction with the "State of Internet Security: Protecting Consumers Online" report, Webroot has released "A Handbook to Safe Online Holiday Shopping", which includes tips for safer online shopping and information about how to identify secure shopping Web sites.

"By adequately protecting their computers and following a few security steps, consumers can lower their risk of being a victim of cyber crime," said Banks. "What we learn by surveying consumers around the world is that people who take the proper precautions have some of the lowest infection rates. In today's world of cyber crime, online shoppers need to tip the scales in their favour by taking every precaution available to ensure a safe holiday season."

Top Five Steps to Protect Against Cyber Crime:.

1. Install Security Software: A layered approach to security is best. Your PC should have three types of security software installed and up-to-date: antispyware, antivirus and a firewall.

2. Know the Retailer: Do business with companies you already know and trust. If you are unfamiliar with the retailer you want to purchase from, it is best to look for more information about the company. You can do this by contacting the Office of Fair Trading.

3. Monitor Your Credit: Many victims do not realise they are a victim until they have lost a lot of money. It is important to monitor your credit report and/or credit status on a regular basis to quickly spot anything unusual. The Credit Reporting Agency is a good resource to utilise.

4. Use a Credit Card not a Debit Card: If you are a victim of fraud or cyber crime, most credit card agreements limit your liability for the charges.

5. Ask About a "Single Use" Credit Card: Many credit card companies are using a new technology that allows them to issue single use credit card numbers for online purchases - you can avoid using your real credit card number online.

For more tips on safe online shopping, visit the Webroot web site and obtain the handbook.

The State of Internet Security report is issued quarterly as an in-depth review and analysis of the most critical computer and data security-related concerns. Each report focuses on a specific aspect of information security, and provides industry data, trends and best practices in light of the threat landscape. The State of Internet Security: Protecting Consumers Online report includes survey results of 3,626 individuals across six countries: Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The complete report is available from the Webroot web site.

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