Survey: 80% of Americans at risk for cyberattacks

Poll by Netsparker reveals that one fifth of Americans don’t regularly update their computer or smartphone software, while 45% fail to update smart home devices.

As a company driver or owner-operator, do you adhere to good cybersecurity practices where your smart phone, table computer or home PC is concerned? If the findings of a recent survey of Americans conducted by Netsparker Ltd. are accurate, there are probably big gaps in your cybersecurity defenses – gaps largely due to outdated security software.

According to the company’s 2017 Cybersecurity Survey – which is based on a poll of 2,006 U.S. adults conducted online by Propeller Insights – fully 80% of Americans admit to cyber behaviors that put them at risk.

The most common offenses are:

  • Using open, unsecured Wi-Fi networks — 40%
  • Clicking on unfamiliar links on social media — 35%
  • Downloading files from third-party sources — 31%
  • Opening email attachments from unknown sources — 31%
  • Failing to install good web-based security software — 28%

Additionally, more than a third (34%) admitted to using the same password for all logins or to using weak passwords (33%). A separate 58% of those polled use fewer than four passwords for all of their online logins, with 15% noting that “constantly forget and reset” their passwords.

Outdated software – the cause of many corporate-level hacks – is also something of an Achilles heel for average Americans as well, according to Netsparker’s survey.

Just over a third of Americans (34%) participating in the company’s poll update their computer’s operating system when prompted, while 22% don’t realize they’re supposed to update their operating systems, procrastinate updating, or simply never do it. Meanwhile, another 7% only update yearly, the company found

Similarly, 40% of Americans said they update their smartphones when prompted, but 19% don’t know they’re supposed to update, procrastinate updating, or simply never do it.

When hacks do happen because of outdated software, about half (53%) of Americans feel the device owner is responsible, but a third (33%) feel it is the fault of the device maker, and a fifth (21%) feel it is the fault of the third-party security provider, the survey found.

“There are many simple steps that Americans can take to protect themselves against data hacks,” noted Ferruh Mavituna, founder and CEO of Netsparker, in a statement. “Implementing stronger passwords and keeping software updated are two obvious ways. Security scanning is another. Data hacks are the threat that defines our age, and consumers must be proactive about keeping their sensitive information safe.”

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