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Internet Security Featured Article

August 24, 2010

Survey: Identity Theft a Major Concern for Most Americans

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor


Over the past decade, the number of individuals who routinely transmit their personal information over the Internet has increased substantially. Due to this burgeoning trend, online identity theft has become a significant concern for most Americans.

In fact, a survey released today by Kindsight, an identity theft protection service, suggests that the vast majority of consumers believe that there is a greater need for added protection against cyber criminals.

Of the 1,200 regular internet users who were polled, a total of 65 percent reported being heavily concerned about having their bank account, credit card or other personal information breached by an outsider.

Kindsight CEO Mike Gassewitz notes that the public’s increased concern regarding identity theft is partially due to the advanced sophistication of cyber criminals.

“Methodical in planning their attacks to make them more lucrative, these criminals are skilled at identifying potential security holes in a consumer’s home network,” he said. “Armed with consumers’ personal information, these cyber criminals can deplete bank accounts and harm credit ratings, which costs consumers significant time and effort to reverse the damage.”

Meanwhile, the survey also found that more than 80 percent of respondents said that their system had been compromised by a virus at some point during their computing life. Moreover, total of 29 percent reported suffering such an occurrence during the last three months.  

However, authorities with Kindsight were surprised to find that only 53 percent of respondents had set up a firewall for their home router or computer. Fewer than 60 percent of participants had even updated their anti-virus software.

Brendan Ziolo, Kindsight’s vice president of marketing, notes that there are a few simple steps that consumers can take to help ensure the security of the personal data that they transmit online.  

Ziolo encourages active and passive Internet users to keep their anti-virus and anti-spyware software up to date and fully installed. He also urges consumers to configure their firewall and make certain that their applications and plug-ins are completely updated.

Finally, Ziolo asks that Americans refrain from opening any emails or downloading any attachments that they receive from unknown senders.

Kindsight collaborates with Internet Service Providers to offer additional layers of data security to consumers by detecting online threats and showing web users how to safely eliminate them.

To gain a better understanding of Kindsight’s service, TMC CEO Rich Tehrani (News - Alert) recently did a video interview with their CEO, Mike Gassewitz.

Beecher Tuttle is a Web Editor for TMCnet. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. He received his bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Colorado.

Edited by Beecher Tuttle

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