Using a reliable anti-virus program, virtual private network, and password manager can help you avoid falling victim to online identity theft and other cybercrimes. But unfortunately, most Americans neglect cybersecurity best practices, according to a new survey from Webroot.
The survey of 10,000 US adults (200 from each state), conducted in February in partnership with Wakefield Research revealed that most Americans are “overconfident” about their cybersecurity posture. Nearly nine out of ten respondents (88 percent) said they believe they are taking the appropriate steps to protect themselves from cybercrime. In reality, just 10 percent are, Webroot found.
The firm asked respondents whether they take precautions such as using antivirus software, regularly backing up their data, and keeping social media accounts private, and whether they engage in risky behaviors such as sharing passwords with others, reusing passwords, and connecting to public Wi-Fi without a VPN. They also asked respondents whether they have had their identity stolen, been impacted by malware, or fallen victim to phishing in the last year.
Based on their answers, Webroot gave respondents a grade from zero to 100 percent.
On average, Americans scored a 60 percent, or a D rating, on Webroot’s cyber hygiene test. Those from Mississippi, Louisiana, and California scored the lowest, making them most susceptible to cybercrime, Webroot found. Even the highest-ranking state, New Hampshire, only scored 65 percent.
Part of the problem is a lack of understanding about basic threats, Webroot found. While most Americans have heard of malware and phishing, few could explain what they are.
“Good cyber hygiene doesn’t have to be complicated,” Webroot Senior Threat Research Analyst Tyler Moffitt said in a statement. “Simple steps like backing up data, using a modern antivirus, and not recycling passwords are quick and easy ways consumers can improve their security. In today’s digital world, no one is immune to cybercrime, and having the awareness and tools necessary to protect yourself is key in keeping personal information secure.”
For more on the survey and what you can do to shield yourself from cybercrime, check out the infographic below.