The Messaging Anti-Abuse Working Group (MAAWG) surveyed consumer emailing behavior and security awareness amongst them and found out that almost a third of consumers accepted to responding to an email they suspected to be spam. Alarmingly, about 80 % of users doubted their computers were at risk of being infected with a “bot,” – a slyly planted virus that can send spam or cause other harm without the user’s cognition. Bots are responsible for generating much of today’s illegitimate email.
The study clearly points out a lack of awareness among consumers.
[The report is based on 800 interviews with computer users in the United States and Canada who said they were not “security experts” and who used email addresses that were not managed by a professional IT department.]
- About two-thirds of the consumers consider themselves “very” or “somewhat” knowledgeable in Internet security.
- Most consumers use anti-virus software
- Over half say they never click on suspected spam
- 21 % take no action to prevent abusive messages from entering their inbox.
- 63 % users would allow their network operator or anti-virus vendor to remotely access their computer to remove detected bots.
Internet and Email Usage
Virus Infections and Anti-Virus Software Usage
Awareness and Perceptions of Spam
Action Against Spam
It is interesting to note that while 82% of consumers are aware of “bots” and malware threats, only 20% believe there is a very good chance their computers could get infected. Even then a majority of junk email today originates from bot-infected computers. The picture seems to e clear after analyzing the report – users are familiar with general email based threats but are not necessarily as alert or cautious as they should be to proactively protect themselves against spam, online fraud and other email-related hazards.
So, how aware, alert and cautious are you? Comment on.