Safer Internet Day 2010 – Surf Smarter!

09 Feb 2010
Business News

Kaspersky Lab, a leading developer of Internet threat management solutions that protect against all forms of malicious software including viruses, spyware, hackers and spam, is supporting Safer Internet Day (9th February, 2010) by providing a dedicated website offering information and video tutorials on safer surfing, social networking and avoiding 'digital pollution' at www.kaspersky.eu/stopdigitalpollution.

For users of all ages, the Internet is part of everyday life. Children and young people use it to meet friends via social networks, parents do online shopping and banking, and 'silver surfers' make travel plans. However, digital pollution, which includes threats from cybercriminals and other unwanted intruders, is growing and poses serious risks for Internet users – risks that Safer Internet Day 2010 will bring to the public's attention.

Many Internet users are blasé about digital pollution, believing cybercriminals will not target them and that they don't have anything of value on their PC. However, statistics show that this attitude could be risky, with significant increases in credit card fraud through personal details that have often been stolen through malicious Internet spyware. According to Kaspersky Lab experts, digital pollution is growing rapidly. Up to 30,000 new Internet threats are currently seen every day, and this number is constantly increasing.

Garlik's annual UK Cybercrime report shows that the losses from plastic cards, which are still the predominant method of payment on the Internet, have rapidly increased.

  • Losses from plastic card fraud rose by 14% from £535.2m in 2007 to £609.9m in 2008.
  • Online banking fraud losses increased by 132% from £22.6m to £52.5m. This constitutes 8.6% of the total figure of loss for 2008
  • Cardholder-not-present (CNP) fraud loss has increased by 13% from £290.5m to £328.4m and accounts for a significant 54% of all card fraud losses.
  • The total value of online shopping in 2008 was £41.2 billion

Figures from the British Crime Survey support this. The 2008/09 BCS shows there has been an increase in plastic card fraud, with 6.4 per cent of plastic card users being aware that their cards had been fraudulently used in the previous 12 months, compared with 4.7 per cent of card users in the six months up to March 2008. This is also a rise from 3.7 per cent in 2005/06. In contrast to this, figures from the UK Payments Administration show that the success of chip & PIN for offline transactions has meant that over the past four years losses on the UK high street have actually reduced by 55% from £218.8m in 2004 to £98.5m last year. Therefore these figures suggest that criminals are now targeting online shoppers more than ever before.

"We expect crimeware that exploits social networking sites to be one of the most dramatically increasing threats of 2010," says David Emm, a member of the Global Research and Analysis Team at Kaspersky Lab. "We fully support the Safer Internet Day initiative, which helps to promote the safer and more responsible use of the Internet, especially amongst children and the elderly."

Think before you post!

Social networking websites are a modern cultural phenomenon. Facebook alone currently has 300 million active users, 150 million of which logon at least once a day. Each user has on average 130 'friends', with the fastest growing demographic being in those who are 35 years old and over. Many are either unaware or do not care that lax security settings can enable everyone to read their information. Anyone can, for example, easily use a search engine to collect personal data from online sources such as Facebook profiles or Amazon wish lists. They can then use this information to create a complete personal profile. It's also important to consider that it is often impossible to completely delete photos or comments posted on social networking sites. These, in turn, may affect the way in which potential employers assess users' job applications – even years down the line. "Think before you post", the motto of Safer Internet Day 2010, is thus intended as a clear guideline to be followed when using social networks.

Even people who don't spend all their free time on the Internet are now facing increasing dangers and more sophisticated attack scenarios. According to the Kaspersky Lab experts, this is also one of the major computer security trends for 2010. "We expect that this year will bring much more sophisticated malware, causing problems even for casual users," says David Emm. "If a computer is not protected by up-to-date Internet Security, phishing attacks (which use fake website pages to mine sensitive personal data) and drive-by downloads (where malware is installed on an unpatched computer when the victims simply browses a compromised web site) will have a field day. Just a single mouse click is enough to install malicious software in the background. From there it can spy out passwords, credit card information and security numbers."

To learn more about the broad range of activities centred around Safer Internet Day, please visit www.saferinternet.org.