Internet Security Threats Will Affect U.S. Consumers’ Holiday Shopping Online
BSA and the Council of Better Business Bureaus Offer Tips for a Safe Holiday Shopping Experience
Washington, D.C., (November 22) – One in four U.S. consumers will not shop online this holiday season due to Internet security concerns, according to a new survey from the Business Software Alliance (BSA).
Almost all (96 percent) online consumers surveyed believe it is important to protect themselves online, and most are doing just that. Over half (53 percent) responded that they are planning to upgrade their computer security software within the next three months, and the vast majority of them are actively seeking information from their friends, families, coworkers, ISPs, tech Web sites and the media on how to shop safely. The survey also indicated that consumers are concerned about e-commerce transactions when shopping on auction sites with 71 percent of the U.S. respondents worried about bidding/selling goods on auction sites.
While 61 percent of consumers predict Internet security concerns will affect their online holiday shopping at some level, more than four out of five (81 percent) say they are using anti-virus software on their computers, and more than three out of five have also installed anti-spyware (67%), email filtering/spam blocker software (65%), and firewalls (63%). [See Figure 1].(link below)
“It’s welcoming news that Internet security is top of mind for consumers this holiday season,” said Neil MacBride, BSA’s vice president of legal affairs. “The good news is that we have found consumers are taking proactive steps to protect themselves to ensure a safe online shopping experience. The bad news is that nearly two thirds say Internet security concerns will affect their shopping at some level this year. Our message to consumers is that a user’s most important protection is his or her own awareness.”
These results are part of a study, commissioned by BSA and conducted by Forrester Custom Consumer Research, examining 1,099 U.S. consumers’ Internet security needs and the steps they are taking to protect their personal information online. The study is part of a larger survey of more than 4,700 Internet users in Canada, Germany, Great Britain and the United States.
According to the survey, 84 percent of U.S. online consumers believe that some Internet retailers have not done enough to protect their customers, and 76 percent would like to be better educated on how to protect themselves.
Consumers’ top concerns about protecting themselves from online security threats include protecting their personal information from being sold to a third party (79 percent) and identity theft (74 percent). Spam, credit card fraud, and computer viruses were also areas of concern for consumers.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) is partnering with BSA to help raise awareness for how to enjoy a safe online shopping experience.
“The speed and ease of shopping online can alleviate holiday hassles, if you take the proper precautions to protect your computer and your personal information,” said CBBB’s Steve Salter, vice president, BBBOnLine. “The Better Business Bureau believes an educated consumer is an empowered consumer. Armed with the right information, Internet shoppers are more likely to make sensible online purchasing decisions that will ensure a happy holiday.”
BSA and the CBBB offer the following tips to help consumers and businesses recognize and avoid online shopping security risks and have a safe online experience:
1. Install security updates. Programs installed on computers and operating systems should be updated on a regular basis.
2. Install anti-virus software and make sure it is activated. Most anti-virus software includes an automatic update feature.
3. Install a firewall. A firewall will protect your computer(s) from unauthorized access and use by hackers.
4. Trust your instincts. When purchasing software or other products online, if the price seems “too good to be true,” it probably is. Take special care to avoid sellers offering “back up” copies of software. This is a clear indication that the software is illegal. Also, be wary of compilations of software titles from different publishers on a single disk or CD.
5. Do your homework. Look for a feedback section on the site and look for comments about the seller based on previous transactions. Look for a “trust mark” from a reputable organization, like BBBOnLine, to make sure the online retailer is reliable and has a proven track record of satisfying customers. If in doubt, conduct Web searches about the site in order to determine its legitimacy and check for a BBB report at www.bbb.org.
7. Ensure secure payment. Before you give your payment information, check that the Internet connections you will be using are secure.
8. Check the vendor’s identifying information. If the vendor is unfamiliar to you, look for an online and offline customer support contact, especially when shopping for software programs on auction sites.
9. Understand the transaction terms. Get a clear explanation of the merchant’s policies concerning returns and refunds, shipping costs, and security and privacy protection, before you complete the transaction.
10. Recognize spam. Indicators that an email is spam include senders whose names you don’t recognize, typos and misspellings in the subject line, and prices that seem “too good to be true.”
Commissioned by BSA, the study was conducted in late October and early November by Forrester Custom Consumer Research, part of Forrester Research, Inc. More than 4,700 Internet users in Canada, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States were surveyed. The error margin for the poll is +/-3 percent (in a sample of at least 1,000 Internet users in each country). Comparative data for each country are available at www.bsa.org/usa/.
In an effort to help consumers and businesses protect themselves against online fraud and other risks and enjoy the full benefits and opportunities of the connected digital landscape, BSA recently launched a new Web site – www.bsacybersafety.com. The site provides useful information to educate consumers and businesses about illegal, fraudulent schemes and how to avoid them.
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The Business Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the foremost organization dedicated to promoting a safe and legal digital world. BSA is the voice of the world’s commercial software industry and its hardware partners before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members represent one of the fastest growing industries in the world. BSA programs foster technology innovation through education and policy initiatives that promote copyright protection, cyber security, trade and e-commerce. BSA members include Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, Avid, Bentley Systems, Borland, CNC Software/Mastercam, Internet Security Systems, Macromedia, Microsoft, McAfee, PTC, SolidWorks, Sybase, Symantec, The MathWorks and UGS.
The Council of Better Business Bureaus (www.bbb.org) is the umbrella organization for the network of Better Business Bureaus that serve communities across the U.S and Canada. BBBs are dedicated to fostering fair and honest relationships between businesses and consumers, instilling consumer confidence and contributing to an ethical marketplace. Funded by more than 375,000 business members, the BBB system provided 60 million instances of service r to consumers and businesses in 2004. BBBOnLine programs (www.bbbonline.org) offer tools and information to consumers and businesses in support of a safe online marketplace.’
- Contact Information
- Debbi Mayster
- Communications Manager
- Business Software Alliance (BSA)
- Contact via E-mail
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