Study reveals 'macho factor' in online security as many males express overconfidence in their system integrity

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

January 30, 2008

2 Min Read

Men generally know more than women about the security tools they have in place on their computers, which makes them overconfident in their online safety and embarrassed to admit when they've been hacked.

Women know less about the security technology they're using, which makes them more cautious in their behavior. But they shop and bank online just as much as men do, and they experience about the same instance of computer crime.

These conclusions may sound like stereotypes, but they are actually the result of a newly completed U.K. study published earlier today by AVG Technologies and

The study collected data from more than 1,400 Internet users (926 women, 477 men) over the age of 16. The results indicate that there is a "macho factor" in navigating the Internet, just as there is when navigating highways and back roads.

Ninety-six percent of men in the survey said they know what security tools are installed on their computers. Yet one in five say they have experienced fraudulent emails, and one in three say they have experienced some form of cybercrime -- roughly the same percentage as among the women in the study.

One in five men say they would feel "stupid" if they became a victim of cybercrime. Of those that had been affected by cybercrime, only 18 percent said they have changed their surfing habits.

"Since instances of cyber theft are about the same for both sexes, it shows that women need to familiarize themselves more with Internet security so that they can use the Web with greater confidence," said Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at AVG, formerly known as Grisoft.

"Men, on the other hand, need to be less macho and think twice about whether they have really done enough to protect themselves -- especially when it comes to the amount of personal information they supply when making purchases and financial transactions online."

— Tim Wilson, Site Editor, Dark Reading

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

Dark Reading is a leading cybersecurity media site.

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