Users weigh online security vs. convenience

Consumers have become more aware of the security risks associated with Internet services, such as online banking and social networking, according to a survey of more than 4,500 people by security firm RSA. For example, in 2007, only 38 percent of respondents knew about phishing, but that number doubled to 76 percent in 2009.

Because federal and local governments increasingly offer services online — from registering vehicles to paying taxes — the latest RSA survey also covered respondents’ use of government and health care Web sites. They were asked to share their opinions and attitudes about online security risks, their level of awareness about the latest threats, and their views about what online service providers should do to protect users.

Which of the following types of online threats are you familiar with? Please check all that apply.

Phishing e-mails: 76%
Phishing via SMA/text message: 33%
Phishing over the phone: 26%
Trojans: 81%
Keyloggers:  26%
Malware:  54%
Spyware:  74%
Adware:  52%
Botnets:  14%
Viruses:  88%
Worms:  65%
Other:  1%

For each of the following types of online sites, please let us know your level of concern with your personal information being accessed or stolen on that type of site.

Online banking

Very concerned:  57%
Somewhat concerned:  29%
Not at all concerned:  13%
Don't know/not applicable:  1%

Government

Very concerned:  30%
Somewhat concerned:  38%
Not at all concerned:  22%
Don't know/not applicable:  10%

Social networking

Very concerned:  32%
Somewhat concerned:  49%
Not at all concerned:  18%
Don't know/not applicable:  1%

How do your concerns about your personal information being accessed or stolen affect your willingness to interact or submit personal information to those sites?

Online banking

Much less likely to use or submit personal information:  36%
Somewhat less likely to use or submit personal information:  31%
Does not affect my willingness to use or submit personal information:  31%
Don't know/not applicable:  2%

Government

Much less likely to use or submit personal information:  23%
Somewhat less likely to use or submit personal information:  37%
Does not affect my willingness to use or submit personal information:  29%
Don't know/not applicable:  11%

Social networking

Much less likely to use or submit personal information:  32%
Somewhat less likely to use or submit personal information:  33%
Does not affect my willingness to use or submit personal information:  22%
Don't know/not applicable:  13%

Do you feel that government sites should use a stronger form of security to identify users — other than a user name and password — when they log in to an online government site?

Yes:  70%
No:  18%
I have no preference:  12%

How willing would you be to start using a stronger form of security, beyond a user name and password, if your online government site decided to offer stronger security?

Very willing:  60%
Somewhat willing:  35%
Not at all willing:  3%
My online government site already offers stronger security:  2%

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