Report: Consumers concerned about online threats but do little to protect themselves

A survey from Kaspersky Lab finds most consumers believe banks and online retailers are responsible for safeguarding their data.

Remember banking before the Internet? You received printed bank statements in the mail and had to manually reconcile the information with the written register in your checkbook. I don't miss it, but I also recognize the convenience of accessing my financial data through a bank website comes with some serious security considerations. According to a new consumer survey from Kaspersky Labs, I am not alone.

Kaspersky conducted an online survey between May and June of this year and gathered information from users in 23 countries around the world. The findings were eye opening.

First, more than three fourths of the survey respondents use multiple devices and/or platforms to connect to the Internet. More than a quarter indicated they actually prefer to access the Internet from a tablet or smartphone, and nine out of 10 revealed they store sensitive information on all of their devices.

But there seems to be a disconnect between those preferences and how consumers view privacy and data security. Almost 40 percent stated they store highly sensitive information on their devices, and they're concerned that it may be compromised or exposed. Approximately six in 10 respondents cited fears their personal data may be stolen, and roughly that same percentage claimed to be worried their devices may be used to spy on them and infringe on their personal privacy.

Eight out of 10 people surveyed conduct financial transactions online, and half of those people stated they also engage in financial transactions from mobile devices. Three fourths of the 11,000-plus survey respondents believe that banks, online retailers, and payment systems are responsible for safeguarding the data and that it's their job to provide solutions that enable them to secure and protect their endpoints.

Despite the fears and concerns about sensitive information and online financial transactions, many users aren't doing anything about it. More than 60 percent of those surveyed do not take appropriate precautions when using free public Wi-Fi networks, and a good percentage of users don't even password protect their Windows or Mac PCs or their tablets or smartphones.

The bottom line seems to be that there is adequate awareness among consumers for the security risks and threats they face online. However, that awareness seems to be coupled with apathy or resignation, as relatively few users are following even the most basic security practices to defend themselves. That will be a problem when those users end up compromised and blame the financial institution or online service, rather than accepting responsibility for the choices they made.

For more information, take a look at the full report from Kaspersky Lab.

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