Biggest Worries When Shopping Online

Illustration: Lou Beach
Consumers are generally still apprehensive about using their credit cards over the Internet, according to security firm F-Secure.

Finland-based F-Secure's annual 'Online Wellbeing' survey found that people in general feel more secure during online banking transactions than when using a credit card for online purchases. And a miniscule seven per cent of parents feel their children are totally safe on the Internet.

F-Secure's third-party survey of Internet users aged 20-40 in the US, Canada, the UK, France, Germany -- and for the first time -- Italy, India and Hong Kong, tested respondents' awareness of online security threats for themselves and their children.

The survey studied Internet users' feelings of personal online security with regards to online banking, children's safety while surfing the Web, and credit card information when shopping online. Overall, 50 per cent of respondents were confident about their security when banking online. However, only six per cent of respondents felt secure when making credit card purchases online. (See "How to Safeguard Your Online Security" for tips.)

Phishing e-mails in disguise

Phishing can appear in the form of what looks like an e-mail from a well-known bank, which in reality is a scam seeking personal information.

On average, 54 per cent felt fairly or very confident they would not fall for a phishing e-mail. However, 27 per cent of respondents do not know whether or not they can spot phishing e-mails. In Hong-Kong, 26 per cent of respondents feel they cannot spot phishing e-mails. Although in other countries such as the UK (68 per cent), Canada (60 per cent), and Italy (67 per cent) respondents are far more confident in their ability to spot such e-mails.

Worried parents

At the core of F-Secure's 'Online Wellbeing' survey is family security when using the Internet. Parents are increasingly worried about their children not being protected from unsuitable content including pornography and violent imagery.

When asked the question, 'My kids are safe when they are online', more than a third of respondents across all countries could neither agree nor disagree.

The vast majority (54 per cent) of respondents did not agree that their children were safe online. Only two per cent of respondents in India feel their children are safe (strongly agree). In Germany, 69 per cent strongly disagree.

"As the survey shows, parents simply do not know whether their children are safe or not," said Sam Lee, Regional Sales Director, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, F-Secure Corporation. Lee is regional director of F-Secure Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macau.

"There is also a lot of uncertainty in performing financial transactions, but it seems the basis for these sentiments is not necessarily founded on a good understanding of the real threats. Part of F-Secure's Online Wellbeing Suite of solutions and services, including anti-virus, Internet security and home server security, are aimed at addressing these issues both in terms of raising awareness and continuously developing enhanced products adapted to the evolving threats", said Lee.

Online banking versus shopping

Surprisingly, respondents feel safer during online banking than when using their credit card for shopping online.

In all eight surveyed countries, the majority agree that they are safe during online banking transactions.

People with the most confidence in this area are from France (62 per cent) and the US (63 per cent), but in Germany, 39 per cent still do not have confidence in online banking. On the whole, 31 per cent of all respondents are still unsure of their safety.

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