42% of Americans hit by regular online attacks, says Microsoft survey

A study by Microsoft has revealed that 42 percent of Americans face ‘weekly or daily’ attacks by cybercriminals trying to access their computers, Network World reports.

1,006 people aged between 18 to 74 were polled, and the survey discovered that alongside the 42% of US citizens who endure weekly attacks on their PC, 28% noticed attempts by landline telephone, 22% via tablet and 18% through mobile phone.

However, the survey indicates that the threats are having an effect that cybercriminals will not welcome: enhanced security on the part of the potential victims. Neowin reports that 73% of those surveyed are “taking precautions when it comes to protecting their personal information, up 25% from a survey taken in 2012.” The break down of these steps is ‘downloading apps from trusted sources’ (49%, up 21 points), ‘keeping apps up to date’ (41%, up 17 points), using a PIN to lock phones (39%, up 19) and using the latest version of the OS (37%, up 16 points).

Computer Weekly states that this extra vigilance seems to go hand-in-hand with consumer fears about scams, with “nearly two-thirds of respondents voicing concerns about schemes such as phishing, spear-phishing, fake websites and healthcare scams, compared with just more than half saying the same in 2012.”

Fear of online shopping scams was a major area for concern, with 60% of respondents concerned about unsecured websites, overpayment, email shopping and ‘lottery scams’.

Interestingly, the survey revealed that ‘traditional scams’ are on the wane, with respondents experiencing lottery and advance-fee fraud scams both dropping nine percentage points since 2012. Unfortunately, this seems to have been replaced with new, more intricate scams, such as telephone fraud, with the Microsoft blog post on the poll stating that this brings “the total number of scams back to 2012 levels.”

As well as the obvious fraud issues online scams can create, the survey found that half of the victims of online fraud polled felt ‘very or extremely violated,’ highlighting that financial issues aren’t the only consequence of cybercrime.

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