The international report entitled “How do users assess threats on the Internet?” reveals that 37% of web users assume that pornography sites are more likely to contain malware compared to hobby/leisure websites. Yet, in reality these recreational websites are, in many cases, easier to attack than professionally run pornography sites.
The report also reveals that almost all Internet users from around the world (93%) are convinced that malware has a distinct, identifiable effect on the PC. However, this is not the case. Findings show that if their PC was attacked, users assume it would crash, certain functions would be disrupted, a pop up would appear or the machine would run slower than usual. Only 7.5% of users thought nothing noticeable would happen.
“There is a natural assumption amongst Internet users that pornography sites are more dangerous than other leisure sites. This is a myth. Amateur hobby/leisure sites are often not professionally run like many pornography sites, making them much easier prey for hackers,” says Eddy Willems, G Data Security Evangelist. “In the past, malware was written by developers who wanted to show off their technical skills, meaning it was visible to infected users. Now cyber criminals design, sell and make use of malware that enables them to take control of PCs’ computing powers in such a way that users do not notice the infection. This covert approach not only puts users’ data at risk, but also allows cyber criminals to send spam e-mails and malware, and participate in DDoS attacks. Internet users must correct their misconceptions in order to stay safe online. “
The study, which investigated and analysed the behavior of almost 16,000 web users in 11 countries, was conducted by G Data as part of its ongoing commitment to providing security solutions that reassure web users and allow them to enjoy the benefits of the Internet without hindrance.
G Data’s Top 5 Internet Security Myths
Myth 1: When my PC is infected, I will notice one way or another.
% of UK respondents who believe the myth: 91.40%
Truth: Now, malware is deliberately constructed by authors in such a way that the user cannot notice the infection. As a result, it is very unlikely that a PC infection is made visible by crashes, limited computing power, suspicious pop-ups or other characteristics.
Myth 2: Free AV software offers the same elements of security as paid for packages.
% of UK respondents who believe the myth: 83.54%
Truth: Free security software only provides basic virus protection, whereas purchased security software includes a range of security components. Besides virus protection, the solutions generally include an HTTP filter, a firewall, an anti-spam module and behaviour-based recognition of malware.
Myth 3: Most malware is spread through e-mail.
% of UK respondents who believe the myth: 52.89%
Truth: For the past six years or so, file attachments in e-mails have been increasingly replaced by links to files on websites. The malware is moved to websites, which have since become the number one point of infection.
Myth 4: You can’t get infected just by loading an infected website.
% of UK respondents who believe the myth: 42.85%
Truth: The assumption that you have to download dangerous content to become infected is incorrect. All it takes to cause an infection is to visit the website in question.
Myth 5: Most malware is spread through downloads at peer2peer and torrent sites.
% of UK respondents who believe the myth: 48.73%
Truth: This is incorrect as the majority of malware is distributed via malicious websites.