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AVG Social Networking Poll Shows Users More Vulnerable Than Ever

AVG has released the results of Bringing Social Security to the Online Community poll, highlighting the vulnerabilities and concerns of social community members around cyber security and the precautions that they are taking or need to take to protect themselves. The AVG and CMO Council survey shows that the widespread and growing use of social networks at home and work is creating serious danger of web-borne identity theft and infection.
  • 27 August, 2009 16:17

<p>The results of Bringing Social Security to the Online Community poll were released today, highlighting the vulnerabilities and concerns of social community members around cyber security and the precautions that they are taking or need to take to protect themselves. The online survey conducted by AVG and the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Council reveals that while the social networking community has serious concerns about the overall security of public spaces, few are taking the most basic of steps to protect themselves against online crimes.</p>
<p>The online survey conducted by AVG and the CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Council reveals that while the social networking community has serious concerns about the overall security of public spaces, few are taking the most basic of steps to protect themselves against online crimes.</p>
<p>The survey shows that while the majority of social networking users are afflicted by web-borne security problems, less than one third are taking actions to protect themselves online.</p>
<p>Participants indicated concern over growing phishing, spam and malware attacks, and nearly half of those surveyed are very concerned about their personal identity being stolen in an online community.</p>
<p>The survey was conducted online during the second quarter of 2009 and gathered responses from a random sampling of more than 250 consumers. According to the poll results, despite widespread use (86 percent) of social networks at home and/or at work, most fail to perform the following basic security measures on a regular basis:
• Changing passwords (64 percent infrequently or never)
• Adjusting privacy settings (57 percent infrequently or never)
• Informing their social network administrator (90 percent infrequently or never)</p>
<p>“As social networking populations grow globally and the proliferation of niche social networks and mobile offerings extends the reach of social communities, the threats and vulnerabilities are escalating accordingly,” said Donovan Neale-May, executive director of the CMO Council. “More frequent breaches and outbreaks on popular social sites are a testament to the need for a more preventative mindset and threat-alert culture among community users.”</p>
<p>Despite the apparent security risks and dangers of engaging in social networking sites, respondents identified several common practices that could cause harm to unprotected users:
• 21 percent accept contact offerings from members they don’t recognise
• More than half let acquaintances or roommates access social networks on their machines
• 64 percent click on links offered by community members or contacts
• 26 percent share files within social networks</p>
<p>As a result of this widespread proliferation of links, files and unsolicited contacts, users have experienced high levels of breaches and threats:
• Nearly 20 percent have experienced identity theft
• 47 percent have been victims of malware infections
• 55 percent have seen phishing attacks</p>
<p>“The fact that users understand the risks, and yet are failing to take the basic steps to protect themselves presents an interesting challenge to companies like AVG that are working to create a safer cyber community,” said Lloyd Borrett, Marketing Manager at AVG (AU/NZ).</p>
<p>According to Borrett, AVG hopes to reverse this trend on familiar turfs such as Facebook and Twitter. “We are trying to get consumers thinking about their personal security but will also provide them with simple tools to do something about it when they are in the spaces that make them feel the most vulnerable.”</p>
<p>Borrett said that AVG is about combining sound technology with safe practices so as to provide everyone with peace of mind so they can enjoy the social computing experience. In addition to encouraging users to take advantage of AVG’s free security offering at, Borrett encourages users to follow Six Simple Steps to Stay Secure:</p>
<p>1. Do not accept pop-ups or prompts for software, unless you're armed with web scanner software such as AVG's free LinkScanner, which checks each site for infections prior to access.</p>
<p>2. Do not ever provide, post, or submit any confidential personal data (e.g., SSN, banking details, medical records). Social networking sites do not require this sort of information to join, unless you're online dating or paying monthly.</p>
<p>3. Change your password at least once a month. Do not change it if you're prompted to. This can be a third party malicious link.</p>
<p>4. Do not let friends, peers, co-workers, etc. access their social networks on your computer, nor yours on their machine. Others could introduce infections to your computer through unsafe practices, or your login security could be compromised via cookies saved on your computer.</p>
<p>5. Never auto save your password information, and clear your history at least once a week.</p>
<p>6. Do not accept friend requests or request friends that you personally do not know.</p>
<p>A full summary and presentation of the survey results and implications is available at</p>
<p>Keep in touch with AVG</p>
<p>For up-to-the-minute news on the latest cyberthreats:
• Subscribe to AVG Chief Research Officer Roger Thompson’s blog at</p>
<p>For general AVG updates
• Join our Facebook community at
• Follow AVG on Twitter</p>
<p>To download AVG’s free LinkScanner product:
• Visit</p>
<p>About the CMO Council</p>
<p>The Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council is dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange, thought leadership and personal relationship building among senior corporate marketing leaders and brand decision-makers across a wide-range of global industries. The CMO Council's 4,500 members control more than $120 billion in aggregated annual marketing expenditures and run complex, distributed marketing and sales operations worldwide. In total, the CMO Council and its strategic interest communities include over 12,000 global executives across 90 countries in multiple industries, segments and markets. Regional chapters and advisory boards are active in the Americas, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa. The Council's strategic interest groups include the Coalition to Leverage and Optimize Sales Effectiveness (CLOSE), Brand Management Institute, and the Forum to Advance the Mobile Experience (FAME).</p>
<p>About AVG Technologies</p>
<p>AVG is a global security software maker protecting more than 80 million consumers and small businesses in 167 countries from the ever-growing incidence of web threats, viruses, spam, cyber-scams and hackers on the Internet. AVG has nearly two decades of experience in combating cyber crime and one of the most advanced laboratories for detecting, pre-empting and combating Web-borne threats from around the world. Its free, downloadable software allows novice users to have basic anti-virus protection and then easily upgrade to greater levels of safety and defense when they are ready. AVG has nearly 6,000 resellers, partners and distributors globally including, CNET, Cisco, Ingram Micro,, Wal-Mart, and Yahoo!</p>
<p>About AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd —</p>
<p>Based in Melbourne, AVG (AU/NZ) Pty Ltd distributes the AVG range of Anti-Virus and Internet Security products in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. AVG software solutions provides comprehensive real-time protection against everything from viruses, spam, spyware, adware, worms, Trojans, phishing and exploits to cyber-criminals, hackers, scammers and identity thieves. AVG provides outstanding technical solutions and exceptional value for home, small to medium business and enterprise clients. AVG delivers always-on, always up-to-date protection across desktops, servers and e-mail in the home plus corporations, government agencies, utilities and educational institutions.</p>
<p>AVG products actively protect more than 80 million users worldwide, including more than three million users in Australia and New Zealand.</p>
<p>AVG (AU/NZ) has more than 2400 resellers across Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.</p>
<p>For more detailed information please contact:</p>
<p>Lloyd Borrett, AVG (AU/NZ)03 9581 0807 or Shuna Boyd, BoydPR 02 9418 8100</p>
<p>Media resources, including logos, box shots, screen shots etc., are available online at:</p>

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