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November 23, 2005

Are people really still worried about internet security?

It's been over a decade since people started doing their shopping online, but the hoary old cliche about security concerns on the internet still lives on.

By CBR Staff Writer

According to new research from the Business Software Alliance, a quarter of consumers will choose not to shop online this Christmas because of concerns about Internet security.

The main concerns include protecting their personal information from being sold to a third party – 79 per cent – and identity theft – 74 per cent. Spam, credit card fraud, and computer viruses were also areas of concern for consumers.

The survey also indicated that consumers are concerned about e-commerce transactions when shopping on auction sites with 71 per cent of respondents worried about bidding/selling goods on auction sites such as eBay.

Almost all – 96 per cent – of those who do venture online believe it is important to protect themselves online, and most reckon that they are doing just that. Over half – 53 per cent – claim that they are plan to upgrade their computer security software within the next three months. More than four out of five – 81 per cent – say they are using anti-virus software on their computers, and more than three out of five have also installed anti-spyware, email filtering/spam blocker software and firewalls.

But there is a level of blame displacement as well with 84 per cent of online consumers accusing some Internet retailers of not doing enough to protect their customers

The good news is that we have found consumers are taking proactive steps to protect themselves to ensure a safe online shopping experience, said Neil MacBride, BSA’s vice president of legal affairs. The bad news is that nearly two thirds say Internet security concerns will affect their shopping at some level this year. Our message to consumers is that a user’s most important protection is his or her own awareness.

These results are part of a study, commissioned by BSA and conducted by Forrester Custom Consumer Research, examining 1,099 US consumers’ Internet security needs and the steps they are taking to protect their personal information online. The study polled more than 4,700 Internet users in Canada, Germany, the UK and the US.

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