Norton warns consumers about online security

A Norton poll in the US finds consumers are confused about how to protect themselves

August 30, 2011

Recently, federal agents in the US arrested members of a cybercrime gang, which singlehandedly had victimized one million people with fake antivirus (AV) scams.  In fact, millions of people have fallen for these types of scams, in which hackers infect consumers’ computers and steal their money by convincing them to buy fake AV software that looks legitimate.   For consumers looking to stay safe online, they are faced with a dizzying array of Internet security options – from free to paid to fake.

According to a new study from Norton done in the US, consumers are confused about how to choose the right security software, with 60 percent of respondents stating that they “…don’t understand…” or only “…somewhat understand…” the difference between paid and free security products.  The study also found that consumers clearly value their digital privacy, with 71 percent refusing to accept one million dollars in exchange for allowing strangers unlimited access to the information on their computer.

“The high value that Americans put on their online privacy shows that we’re beginning to understand how vital our digital information truly is,” said Cali Lewis, a technology journalist for GeekBeat.TV in the US. “Cybercriminals are out to gain access to our personal information and use it for their own monetary gain. Consumers shouldn’t rely on a run-of-the-mill security product to protect an invaluable asset like their digital privacy; instead, they should choose the strongest, best quality protection possible.”

How can people cut through the clutter and find the best protection for their invaluable digital privacy?  According to Norton Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt, consumers should keep these tips in mind:

Start with strong, unique passwords – use different passwords for all of your accounts. Otherwise, if a hacker gets control of one, they get control of all of them. Additionally your passwords should be at least seven characters, contain a number or symbol, not include dictionary words or names, but still be something you can remember. Choose a product from a trusted brand known for its expertise in security and purchase from a trusted source. Hackers and cybercriminals are constantly evolving their methods and a well-known provider will have the resources and expertise to keep up. The security software from Norton offers comprehensive protection based on the way users actually behave online.

Buyer beware: Make sure you know the difference between freeware, fake AV, and paid security solutions.  To ensure your identity is safe as you shop, bank, socialize and surf online, use security software such as Norton 360 that provides identity protection and proactive protection against known and unknown threats such as viruses, spyware and phishing attacks before they do damage to your computer.

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