Publicity around the threat of cyber crime has done little to curb risky online behaviour, according to a new report released by Kaspersky Lab.
The company’s annual Consumer Security Risks Survey 2015 found that 31 per cent of respondents are prepared to enter personal or financial data on websites that they are unsure of. This is an increase of 30 per cent on last year.
Perhaps more disturbing is the number of users convinced they will not be targeted by a cyberattack. The figure jumped from 40 per cent in 2014 to 46 per cent this year.
Unsurprisingly, the survey also found Internet users often do not recognise a potential threat when they encounter one.
Kaspersky Lab A/NZ managing director, Andrew Mamonitis, said self-preservation is an integral part of our existence.
“In the real world, we know how to reduce the risk of money or property loss - we’ve learnt about it from an early age,” he said.
“When we’re offline, we’re always on guard. But when it comes to the Internet, the self-preservation instinct often fails us. And, of course, today everything has a digital format: our personal life, intellectual property and money.
“All this requires that we adopt the same kind of responsibility as in real life, as the cost of making a mistake online can be just as high. That’s why we encourage everyone to evolve with technology and improve their cyber savviness,” Mamonitis added.
As part of the survey, Kaspersky conducted a test that saw respondents confronted with several potentially dangerous situations that occur regularly on the Internet when surfing the Web, such as, downloading files or viewing social networking sites.
Each scenario offered a choice of several answers. Depending on the possible negative consequences, each answer was assigned a score – the safer the user's choice, the higher the score, and vice versa.
The security firm said respondents from 16 countries scored an average of 95 points out of a possible 150. It said this means respondents only choose safe options in half of the hypothetical situations; in the remaining situations they exposed themselves to the risk of unpleasant consequences.
The test has also revealed that only 24 per cent of respondents were able to identify a genuine Web page without also selecting a phishing, or fake page.
Additionally, 58 per cent of those surveyed selected only phishing sites designed to steal people's credentials without choosing the genuine page. One in 10 users were prepared to open an attached file without checking it – the equivalent of manually launching a malicious program in many cases.
Most concerning was the fact that 19 per cent of those surveyed would disable a security solution if it tried to prevent the installation of a program.