Consumers participate in risky online behavior, according to report

November 26, 2012

Although reports of new malware and cyber threats have convinced some consumers to take web security more seriously, many still engage in risky behavior that may leave confidential information vulnerable to hackers. As the number of dangers aimed at personal, business and mobile devices increases, it is crucial that professionals take steps to block attacks.

A new survey conducted by the non-profit organization ISACA revealed that respondents' fears do not reflect how they behave online. The 2012 IT Risk/Reward Barometer report found that 90 percent of 4,500 polled IT professionals said they felt that their online privacy was threatened, however, their fear has not stopped them from engaging in dangerous behavior to conduct business. For example, 65 percent do not look at or change the security settings when shopping on web sites, 36 percent have clicked a link on a social media site and 19 percent use their work email addresses to perform activities unrelated to their jobs.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement has also caused anxieties among IT departments, according to the source. About 33 percent of respondents said they would consider using their personal devices to conduct business, while 15 percent have installed a location-based application on company devices and 12 percent said they stored their organizations' passwords on their smartphones and tablets. Although BYOD can improve business efficiency, workers may put files at risk unless they keep their smartphones and tablets safe.

To avoid high-risk behavior, companies must take steps to secure information. Decision-makers should develop internet security policies and educate employees on data loss consequences and prevention methods. Workers should also use strong passwords to inhibit unwanted users and install security software on their devices.

-McAfee Cloud Security