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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Study indicates Canadians fear identity theft over virus attacks

Thirty-nine per cent of Canadians consider identity theft, such as having passwords and personal information stolen, to be their primary security concern online, according to a recent study.

However, 64 per cent of Canadians surveyed were unable to accurately define the term “phishing” - the increasingly common practice of using fraudulent spam emails and fake corporate Websites to fool recipients into divulging personal financial data.

Phishing email messages mimic a legitimate source such as a bank or an online auction site.  Messages notify recipients that an update is required to their account information and directs them to follow a link where they are asked to provide personal account information.

In rating security, men and women differed slightly in their online priorities in the Aol study.  Forty-two per cent of women versus 36 per cent of men rated identity theft as their number one concern.  However, more men (22 per cent) than women (10 per cent) rated spyware or adware tracking their online habits as their primary online security concern.

While Canadians list identity theft (39 per cent), viruses (31 per cent) and spyware (16 per cent) as major security concerns, they are less fearful of spam in general.

Only nine per cent of respondents listed spam among their primary security concerns.

Posted on 03/30