In March 2019, Google and the Harris Poll combined to release results of a survey and test to
prove to Internet users just how little they know about security online. The results are probably
not surprising if you’ve ever taken a course or a class on how to protect yourself online. But for
the people who confidently took the poll believing themselves whizzes when it comes to staying
safe online; the results were somewhere between shocking and humiliating.
As the survey results suggest, security is not a built-in part of the Internet. Most computers
come with some form of antivirus protection, but it’s very rarely enough as malware and other
forms of malicious software evolve quickly, usually outpacing basic protection.
The best way to stay safe – other than ceasing to use a computer altogether – is to research and
invest in a quality antivirus software package that frequently updates and has a proven track
record. Trying to wing it when it comes to the protection of your devices is a really bad idea and
one that can end in you or your business losing everything.
Here’s a closer look at the vast difference between people’s perception of Internet security and
the realities of it. The results of this survey are from 1,002 adults ages 16-24 and 1001 adults
ages 25 and older living in the United States.
Generally speaking, the additional “S” at the end of an HTTP address is there to provide security
when performing financial transactions or sending data. It means that an encryption system is in
place to keep third parties from capturing your information. But just because an HTTPS is in
place doesn’t mean the website behind it isn’t corrupt. The poll revealed that 69% of those
surveyed didn’t realize an HTTPS website could be used for a phishing attack and 64% didn’t
realize they could be redirected to a website without their knowledge from an HTTPs site.
Online safety report card
73% of those who took the poll say they can tell the difference between websites that protect
their information and those that do not. That result in stark contrast to the actual 23% that could
identify that the site with “https” in the address was the most secure. 55% of those surveyed
gave themselves either and ‘A’ or a ‘B’ for online safety and security knowledge. 70% could not
identify what a safe URL looks like. And only 3% of those surveyed – 60 out of more than 2,000 –
got all six basic Internet security questions correct.
As in most things, the majority’s opinion of its knowledge far outweighs its actual knowledge. It’s
always fun to watch random people on talk show skits fail miserably at naming things like
foreign leaders and planets in the solar system, but the lack of knowledge about the Internet
security is downright dangerous. The less that people practice good online security skills, the
more cybercriminals will get away with, jeopardizing personal information, business data,
financials, and more.
Cheers & take Until Next Post