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[ISN] Men overconfident about online security


By Iain Thomson
29 Jan 2008

Most men believe that they know more about online security than women, 
but new research suggests that both sexes are equally vulnerable to 
malware and other threats.

The poll of 1,400 UK adults found that men are likely to be more 
confident about their levels of online protection, and only four per 
cent are unaware of what protection they have.

However, both sexes showed the same levels of vulnerability to online 

"My gut feeling, because I'm a man, is that it is one of those societal 
gender things," said Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at AVG 
which commissioned the study.

"Men feel that they are more in control of what they do. It's like map 
reading. In fact the risk is equal among the sexes."

The survey also found that one in three internet users had been a victim 
of either financial or data loss online, but not even one in five would 
change their online habits as a result.

Bridwell claimed that this does not indicate that people are not worried 
about security, but that they are unable to do anything about the 

"It would be comical if it wasn't sad," he said. "Users are locked in. 
In my case I fly between 100,000 and 200,000 miles a year, so I have to 
pay for things online. If I didn't I'd have a horrible credit rating and 
no power at home."

The survey was carried out to promote AVG's new security software, which 
has antivirus and anti-spyware capabilities combined. The software is 
free for personal use, but backed up by the company's commercial 
software arm.

"To be honest it's free for two reasons. First, giving away free 
security software that works is a great branding tool," said Bridwell.

"Secondly, it's got to be done. There's a huge pool of unprotected 
internet users out there spreading malware all over the place, and that 
hurts everyone."

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