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Consumers Concerned With Phishing

Cloudmark announced the results of a nationwide poll conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive

SAN FRANCISCO -- Cloudmark, Inc., the global leader in carrier-grade messaging security, today announced the results of a nationwide poll conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive®, which revealed that 89 percent of U.S. online adults are equally or more concerned about becoming a phishing victim than they were last year. Phishing attacks are email scams that attempt to defraud consumers of their personal information (e.g., bank account, social security, credit card, etc.) by pretending to have been sent by a trustworthy entity such as a bank or credit lender. Nevertheless, according to the poll, online adults still engage in at least one of the five major activities that often lead to being the victim of a phishing attack. In the past year:

  • Nearly two in five (37 percent) have opened emails from unknown senders.

  • About one in seven (13 percent) have clicked on links in emails from unknown senders.

  • More than one in seven (16 percent) have given out personal information on a Website when the information was “optional.”

  • About one in ten (9 percent) have opened attachments in emails from unknown senders.

  • Six percent have responded to emails claiming there was a problem with their account; they owe money, they are owed money or have an opportunity to make money.

Among those more concerned about phishing attacks, 77 percent said their increased concern is a result of hearing that phishing is a growing problem and almost half (45 percent) are now receiving more phishing emails than they did last year. In addition, 27 percent of those who are more concerned said they can not tell the difference between legitimate and phishing emails. An alarming 23 percent know of someone who has been a victim of a phishing attack. The survey suggests that phishing is still a major security issue. Although 77 percent of online adults who are now more concerned about phishing say they know that phishing is a growing problem, it appears that consumers are still not clear about what they can and should do to protect themselves.

Further, the majority of online adults indicated that a lot or a moderate amount of responsibility for protecting against phishing attacks lies with both themselves (89 percent) and their service providers (82 percent).

“We were surprised to see that, despite increased consumer awareness about phishing, many are still participating in potentially dangerous online behavior,” said Bassam Khan, vice president of marketing, Cloudmark. “It is nearly impossible for consumers to keep up with the large volume and sophistication of today’s phishing attacks on their own. Some phishing sites are so realistic that they fool even the savviest Internet user. This survey highlights the growing problem and emphasizes the need for consumers and service providers to be actively involved in protecting themselves and their customers against phishing and other forms of online threats.”

Cloudmark Inc.

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