Number of the week: 32% of users have connected infected storage devices to their computers

15 Aug 2012
Virus News

Kaspersky Lab statistics show that users are more likely to fall victim to cybercrime online, while computer infections caused by portable data carriers (optical discs or USB drives) are less common. Nevertheless, according to a survey conducted by O+K Research in May 2012 at the request of Kaspersky Lab, users encounter infected flash drives on a regular basis, with 32% of users reporting such incidents. Even if a user is confident that his/her computer is securely protected, an infected USB stick from friends or family could result in data loss.

Along with cyber-threats, users worry about unauthorized access to their personal data and the devices it is stored on. According to the survey, this problem affected 14% of desktop and laptop users, 12% of tablet owners and 10% of those respondents with smartphones. It should be noted here that unauthorized access to personal data is not always caused by an infection; the culprit could just as easily turn out to be a nosy work colleague or a complete stranger who finds your lost device. That’s why the most effective security measure is to encrypt all your sensitive files. And this is easier than it sounds, given that lots of Total Security antivirus products, including Kaspersky PURE, specifically provide this sort of functionality. There is also dedicated software with anti-theft functionality capable of safeguarding the information on your mobile device.

Another relatively widespread method for stealing user data is that of data interception on wireless networks, particularly Wi-Fi. Nowadays lots of cafes, restaurants and other public areas offer hot-spots that rarely use passwords or encryption. That means anyone can use networks like these. At the same time, intercepting and analyzing traffic on these networks is a relatively simple task for the cybercriminals.

The experts at O+K Research found that 46% of smartphone users and 48% of tablet owners use unsecured public networks. 29% of those with laptops also make use of free Wi-Fi. What is more, over half of the respondents use these networks every day or at least 2-3 times a week. This rather worrying statistic demonstrates that users clearly underestimate the dangers of free Wi-Fi. When it comes to wireless networks, it is very easy to avoid the threat of your data being intercepted by only using secured hot-spots.

What the initial survey findings show is that consumers live in quite an insecure environment, and may be attacked by cybercriminals using multiple vulnerable spots. Therefore, safeguarding people’s personal data requires even more than standard anti-malware protection. Securing online data exchange, protecting financial transactions, blocking infected and fraudulent web pages – these features combined together is the proper defense tactics. Thus, the minimum requirement for strong protection is the product like Kaspersky Internet Security which includes all mentioned security methods and even more.

The full report on the survey conducted by O+K Research is available at: http://www.kaspersky.com/downloads/pdf/kaspersky-lab_ok-consumer-survey-report_eng_final.pdf

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