Among the 1,000-plus U.S. adults randomly polled by Competitive Edge Research & Communication (CERC), 10 percent said they had been victims of identity theft. According to CERC, that percentage is equivalent to 23 million victims in the U.S. About 23 percent also said they know someone who was an identity theft victim.
The poll was aimed at gauging nationwide awareness of identity theft, cybercrime, and antivirus software, and was announced by ESET this week in conjunction with its participation in the Securing Our eCity cybercrime education and awareness initiative.
According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of the respondents own an Internet-capable computer. Only 7 percent are "extremely" confident in their antivirus software's ability to protect them; 30 percent "very" confident; 46 percent, "somewhat" confident; and 10 percent, not at all confident. About 5 percent don't have AV software installed on their machines.
Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) want their local governments to do more to combat cybercrime, while 20 percent said their jurisdictions are doing enough at this point. Only 2 percent said anticrime efforts should be "downsized."
And although about 70 percent of respondents consider cybercrime either "very" or "extremely" serious, their understanding of how cybercrime actually happens is mixed. Around 36 percent said malware is delivered by the user getting tricked into giving up his personal information; 15 percent said via email; 11 percent, via Websites; 5 percent, social networking sites; 3 percent, chat rooms and instant messaging; and 11 percent, all of these vectors equally. About 17 percent are unsure just how malware is spread.
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