In support of Safer Internet Day (SID) on February 11, Microsoft has released the results of the third annual Microsoft Computing Safer Index (MCSI) that reveals impact of poor online safety behaviour. Microsoft is asking consumers to visit the new, interactive website to “Do 1 Thing” today and make it part of their daily digital routine because education and guidance about how to avoid online risks remain key.
According to the MCSI survey, the annual worldwide impact of phishing and various forms of identity theft could be as high as USD $5 billion, with the cost of repairing damage to peoples’ online reputation higher yet at nearly USD $6 billion, or an estimated average of USD $632 per loss.
Of the more than 10,000 consumers surveyed globally:
* 20 per cent Indians said they were victims of online phishing attacks
* 12 per cent Indians said they suffered identity theft at an average cost of Rs 7,500
* Of the seven behavioural steps to secure oneself online, Indian respondents adopted an average three steps, and deployed an average of 3.2 technical tools out of a total of 12 available tools
Globally, only 34 percent said they limit what strangers see on social networks and the amount of personal information online, while 38 percent said they adjust their social network privacy settings. And, only 35 percent use a PIN (personal identification number) or password to lock their mobile device. The new site allows Internet users around the world to share how they plan to avoid online risks, learn what other people are doing to help protect themselves, and receive instant tips to enhance their digital lifestyle.
“The Internet touches our lives every day, whether we are communicating with loved ones, for work, shopping, and paying bills,” said Prakash Kumar, National Technology Officer, Microsoft India Pvt. Ltd.
“But, how cautious are we about monitoring our online presence, and taking note of our own vulnerabilities? There are many things you can do to stay safer online. What is needed is to do just one thing, and we can all be much safer, together,” Kumar said. “Go to our website to share your one thing. Tell the world that you’re committed to helping keep the Internet safer and more secure. And once you do, you’ll be part of that positive change.”
Internet users can make more informed decisions and help better protect their online activities, which provides a range of hints, tips and guidance including the following:
* Help guard your devices and online accounts. Use a unique four-digit PIN for mobile devices and strong passwords for online accounts.
* Perform sensitive transactions over secured networks. This includes paying bills, banking or shopping. Don’t share personal account information over “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi connections.
* Take charge of your online reputation. Discover what information about you is on the Internet, periodically re-evaluate it, and remove unwanted or inaccurate content to cultivate an accurate, positive reputation.
* Help protect your social circles. Use privacy settings to manage the information you share and with whom you share it. Be selective about what you post and accepting friends.