People go to extreme lengths to protect their devices - but do not understand the threats

Paranoid users are turning to a multitude of different methods to keep their personal data away from online prying eyes, according to recent research.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

There are 3.2 billion people across the world with a connection to the internet, up from 2.9 billion in 2014, but many online users are not cyber savvy at all.

Many users do not use the correct methods to keep them safe online. Multiple research studies and 'Are you cyber savvy?' quizzes carried out by cyber security company Kaspersky Lab show that not enough users are aware of the risks.

Those that are, are using the wrong methods to stay safe online.

Kapersky surveyed 12,355 users from 26 countries in June 2015 to discover how people accessed the internet and how strong their personal privacy settings were.

To protect their privacy, users keep their personal data away from prying eyes in the online world, including hiding their computers from other people.

Other security measures taken were:

20 percent of users admit that they cover up their webcam in an attempt to protect their privacy. Covering a webcam can not prevent audio interception and can not protect users from being listened to by hackers or malicious groups.

28 percent of users store their sensitive data on devices that have no Internet access, thinking that this will guarantee the protection of their data.

However, even without an Internet connection as it is possible for a device to be infected via a connected smartphone or USB stick.

Almost a third (29 percent) of respondents believe that no precaution measures are necessary when they are buying something online, as the websites of major companies are well protected.

18 percent of those surveyed said that they avoid using popular websites like Google and Facebook because of the personal information they gather.

However it is normal practice for almost all websites to track users and collect some user data.

Eight percent also said they devote time to entering then erasing credit card data when paying online, in an attempt to confuse viruses.

Malware, and keyloggers will not be confused this way.

Worryingly, only 24 percent of users could identify an original webpage without selecting a fake webpage as well.

The majority of users did not have the instinct to look at the address bar when facing the web page samples in the quiz.

34 percent of users, instead of an audio file, were ready to download a file with an exe. extension, which would most likely turn out to be a malicious program

David Emm, Principal Security Researcher from Kaspersky Lab said: "These findings demonstrate two extremes - on the one hand, there are people who think they can keep their data safe by, for example, hiding their computers; but on the other hand, there are still those who are simply not taking the necessary precautions online.

People need to become more cyber-savvy - with today's security solutions it is possible to protect yourself from cyber-threats without having to go to the extreme lengths of hiding a computer."

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