Press Release

Kaspersky Lab Consumer Security Risks Survey Reports Careless Activity Over Social Media Networks

Woburn, MA – August 18, 2014 - Kaspersky Lab has today released the results report of its global Consumer Security Risks Survey for 2014, which was conducted with B2B International and covers various concerns and behaviors of the modern Internet user. In fact, according to the results, only a small number of respondents understand the risks associated with active use of social networks.

The survey shows that communication via social networks is one of the most popular activities on the Internet. Overall, using social media sites was the third most popular activity after checking email and reading articles or books, and it was even more popular on mobile devices – ranking second.

People are often careless with what information they share over social media networks. While using social media networks, every tenth participant discusses private information on social media networks with strangers, but only 18 percent think they reveal more personal information than they should on social networks. In general, 15 percent share information online that they would not disclose in the real life. Losing social media network credentials is not a top concern for many, as only 7 percent of respondents included it in their list of top three types of information they would not want to have stolen.

78 percent of the respondents do not think they are of any interest to cybercriminals or are unsure about this issue. However, cybercriminals are always lurking and often look through social networks searching for information inadvertently left by the user. Information such as an email address can be used to help an attacker break an account password or identify a person’s location. In turn, access to a user’s account can give cybercriminals the opportunity to send malicious links and files to the victim’s friends, stealing their personal data as well.

Survey statistics also show that 40 percent of respondents received suspicious emails or social media messages with unknown links or potentially malicious files, and 21 percent received emails claiming to be from a social media network asking for password and other personal credentials. Moreover, according to Kaspersky Security Network data, in 2013 Kaspersky Lab products blocked more than 600 million attempts to visit a phishing (fake) page and over 35 percent of these sites imitated social networking sites.

In addition, mobile users also find themselves at risk. Six percent of all respondents stated their social network accounts had been "taken over" by hackers, while among the owners of Android based-tablets this figure reached 13 percent. The number of victims also varies depending on location: unauthorized access to social network accounts was reported by 16 percent of the users in China and the Asia-Pacific region, 19 percent in Russia and 4 percent of North American respondents.  

To avoid falling victim to cybercriminals through social networks, consumers are recommended to follow a few simple rules:

  • Use strong passwords for accounts and disable the auto-complete function, especially if logging in from your smartphone or tablet;
  • Restrict the amount of information shared on any networks; divide "friends" into groups so that information can be shared with only those really trusted;
  • Do not download files, do not follow suspicious links from unknown senders;
  • Before entering credentials, make sure it is not a fake page created in order to obtain usernames and passwords;
  • Try to use a secure connection if  possible, do not enter login and password when connecting to a hotspot over public Wi-Fi;
  • And make sure the device used to enter a social network is well protected: use a password to access the device and a reliable security solution.

The Kaspersky Lab next generation security solution for home users, Kaspersky Internet Security – Multi-Device, is capable of protecting multiple devices, be it computers running Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X or Android smartphones and tablets. The anti-phishing module on all of these platforms checks the sites the user opens and verifies the authenticity of certificates, preventing the user from falling victim to fraudsters. In addition, the owners of Windows, Android and OS X devices are protected from any attempts to steal their credentials by using malicious software, be it keyloggers intercepting usernames and passwords or Trojans "creating" extra fake fields on legitimate websites. In addition, Kaspersky Internet Security checks the Wi-Fi connection and warns if it is not securely protected and could be used to steal personal data.  

The Consumer Security Risks Survey study was conducted via an online survey from May to June 2014 with users from 23 countries. A total of 11,135 people aged 16 and over were surveyed. As part of the study, users from different countries answer questions about their knowledge of current cyber threats and about incidents they may have encountered.

About Kaspersky Lab
Kaspersky Lab is the world’s largest privately held vendor of endpoint protection solutions. The company is ranked among the world’s top four vendors of security solutions for endpoint users*. Throughout its more than 16-year history Kaspersky Lab has remained an innovator in IT security and provides effective digital security solutions for large enterprises, SMBs and consumers. Kaspersky Lab, with its holding company registered in the United Kingdom, currently operates in almost 200 countries and territories across the globe, providing protection for over 300 million users worldwide. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.

* The company was rated fourth in the IDC rating Worldwide Endpoint Security Revenue by Vendor, 2012. The rating was published in the IDC report "Worldwide Endpoint Security 2013–2017 Forecast and 2012 Vendor Shares (IDC #242618, August 2013). The report ranked software vendors according to earnings from sales of endpoint security solutions in 2012.

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Media Contact
Sarah Bergeron
781.503.2615
sarah.bergeron@kaspersky.com