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F-Secure survey finds people still insecure online

March 2009 by F-Secure

F-Secure announced results from its annual Online Wellbeing Survey. This third-party survey of Internet users aged 20-40 in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany – and for the first time – Italy, India and Hong Kong, tested respondents’ awareness of online security threats for themselves and their children.

The survey uncovered Internet users’ feelings of personal online security with regards to online banking, children’s safety while surfing the web, and credit card information when shopping online. Overall, 50% of respondents were confident about their security when banking online. However, only 6% of respondents felt secure in making credit card purchases online.

Web surfing and phishing e-mails

Phishing can appear in the form of what looks like an e-mail from a well-known bank, which in reality is a scam seeking personal information. On average, 54% felt fairly or very confident they would not fall for a phishing email. However, 27% of respondents do not know whether or not they can spot phishing emails. In Hong-Kong, 26% of respondents feel they cannot spot phishing emails. Although in other countries such as the UK (68%), Canada (60%), and Italy (67%) respondents are far more confident in their ability to spot such emails.

Children and the Internet

At the core of F-Secure’s “Online Wellbeing” is family security when using the Internet. Parents are increasingly worried about their children not being protected from unsuitable content including pornography and violent imagery. When asked the question, “My kids are safe when they are online”, over a third of respondents across all countries could neither agree or disagree with the statement. Parents and guardians do not know whether children are safe online or not. The vast majority (54%) of respondents did not agree that their children were safe online. Only 2% (strongly agree) of respondents in India feel their children are safe. In Germany, 69% strongly disagreed and disagreed with the statement.

Antti Reijonen, Vice President of Consumer Business and Marketing at F-Secure Corporation said: “As the survey showed, parents simply do not know whether their children are safe or not. We will do all we can to develop services that support parents in keeping their children safe online. There is also a lot of uncertainty in performing financial transactions, but it seems the basis for these sentiments is not necessarily founded on a good understanding of the real threats. Part of F-Secure’s Online Wellbeing Suite of solutions and services, including Anti-Virus, Internet Security and Home Server Security, are aimed at addressing these issues both in terms of raising awareness and continuously developing enhanced products adapted to the evolving threats.”

Online banking

Surprisingly, respondents feel safer during online banking than when using their credit card for shopping online. In all eight surveyed countries, the majority agree that they are safe during online banking transactions. The countries that have the most confidence are France (62%) and the US (63%), but in Germany, 39% still do not have confidence in online banking. On a whole, 31% of all respondents were still unsure of their safety.


The survey was carried out by a third party in December 2008 across 2019 Internet users aged 20-40 in USA, Canada, France, Germany, UK, Italy, India and Hong Kong. There were approximately 200 respondents surveyed per country. F-Secure asked respondents a series of basic online security questions and, using a Likert scale, asked them to rate the extent to which they were confident in the security of given online activities.




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