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Women found to be less aware of cyberthreats

August 6, 2015 • Security, Top Stories

Online security

When you need to visit an online bank, a retailer or a payment website, you should manually type in the URL. (Image Source: centurybizsolutions.net)

According to a survey conducted by Kasperky Lab and B2B International, women have been found to be less aware of cyberthreats.

However, in light of this and in celebration of National Women’s Day on 9 August 2015 in South Africa, Kaspersky Lab, along with B2B International, intend to not only make woman more aware of online cyberthreats – but also protect them against it.

Both Kasperky Lab and B2B International are encouraging all women, this Women’s Day, to expand on their knowledge of online security protection.

According to the survey, only 19% of women believe they may fall victim to cybercriminals while every fourth man (25%) considers it possible. Moreover, according to the survey women generally know less about cyberthreats than men. For example, 27% of men and 38% of women are unaware of ransomware; 23% of men and 34% of women know little about mobile malware; 21% of men and 34% of women have a limited idea what an exploit is.

This lack of awareness can cause a user to pay less attention to protecting themselves against cyberthreats. When they allow other people (children, friends, colleagues, etc.) to use their main device, 36% of women do nothing to protect their data because they “see no risk”. Only 28% of men behave in the same way. 75% of men and 68% of women make back-up copies. 13% of women have no security solutions on their devices, compared with 10% of men.

There seems to be a connection between awareness of cyberthreats and the number of cyber-incidents faced by women and men. In the survey it appears that over a 12-month period more women than men faced malware incidents (73% vs 65%), although men were more likely to suffer financial consequences (22% vs 19%). Typically, men more often spend money on buying special programmes designed to clean the system or to protect it in the future whereas women prefer to turn to IT professionals for help.

However, there are some threats that men face more often than women: for example, in 2014 cyberattacks targeting users’ financial data were encountered by 47% of men but just 39% of women. This may be because women are particularly concerned about the security of financial transactions compared with other online activities. Thus, 59% of men and 64% of women are worried about the risk of online fraud affecting their bank accounts while 46% of men and 51% women feel vulnerable when making online payments. In addition, female respondents are slightly more worried about someone spying on them via their webcam (41% vs 38%).

Riaan Badenhorst, Managing Director for Kaspersky Lab, Africa stated that: In real life people understand that it’s important to take sensible precautions to protect the things that they value as they go about their day-to-day activities. The same is true online. Following sensible web safety guidelines allows us to greatly reduce the risk of losing valuable data or falling victim to financial fraud.”

Online security is a must
Here are some useful tips — from Kaspersky Lab’s team of security experts — to help you protect your money and data when you’re online:

Don’t assume links are genuine
When you need to visit an online bank, a retailer or a payment website, you should manually type in the URL — instead of clicking on a link. Do not visit websites by clicking on:

Links in emails
Messages on social network sites
Messages in chat rooms
Banner ads that are on suspicious websites
Links sent to you by people you do not know

Beware of fake communications
Most financial organisations will never send emails asking customers to:

Send personal data in an email
Visit their site for authorisation
Enter personal data in pop-up windows

Check the URL
When you’re visiting a web page that needs you to enter confidential data, carefully check that the address of the page that’s shown on the browser corresponds with the page that you were intending to access. If the URL is made up of a random selection of letters and numbers — or it looks suspicious — do not input any information.

Use your own computer — and your own Internet connection
Try to avoid using public computers — in Internet cafes, airports, clubs, hotels, libraries or other locations — when you need to access online banking services or online retailers. These public computers may have a variety of spyware programs running on them. If so, these malicious programs could record everything you type on the keyboard — including your passwords — and also intercept Internet traffic.

Even if you use your own computer for online transactions, you need to avoid connecting to the Internet via a public Wi-Fi network. On a public Wi-Fi network, there is a risk that the traffic might be intercepted by the network’s administrator or by cybercriminals — and attacks might be launched with network worms.

Don’t use your main credit card or debit card
You might benefit from having a special card that you only use for online purchases. It may be possible to restrict the credit limit for your ‘online credit card’ or to hold a limited amount of money on your ‘online debit card’.

Learn from other people’s experiences
Before making a purchase online, try to read customer reviews about that specific retailer.

Protect against malware and Internet security risks
A rigorous anti-malware solution can protect you against computer viruses, worms, Trojan viruses and more. Some anti-malware products also include special technologies that provide additional layers of security when you’re using online shopping and banking websites.

Edited by: Darryl Linington
Source: Kaspersky Lab


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