Check The Internet Forecast Before You Go Online

According to a recent survey conducted by the Cyber Security Industry Alliance (CSIA), more computer users are becoming increasingly insecure about using the Internet. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed avoid making purchases on the Internet because they are afraid their financial information might be stolen. Fewer than one in five of the 1,150 U.S. adults surveyed believed that existing laws can protect them from fraud, identity theft and other crimes on the Internet. More than two-thirds (70 percent) want Congress to pass stronger data- protection legislation.

Consumers have clearly taken notice of Internet threats and scams, but there have been few resources they can use to understand what the immediate risks are and what they can do to more safely participate in their favorite online activities. Consumers want to be informed of the risk levels associated with common online activities and the precautions they can take to protect themselves. One such tool is The Symantec Internet Threat Meter, which helps computer users become aware of the most recent Internet threats and educates them about the steps they can take to safeguard their computers and personal data while online.

While high-profile computer worms and other online attacks are not as visible as they have been in the past, Internet threats have changed shape and present even more risks to consumers. Today’s threats spread in many ways-through Web sites, instant messaging and e-mail-but use more silent, targeted methods than before. Many attacks are launched with criminal intent to steal users’ personal data or to take over computers in order to launch targeted attacks that result in financial gain for cybercriminals.

The Symantec Internet Threat Meter helps consumers better understand the Internet landscape by taking an activities-based approach. The index rates the four main online activities-e-mail, Web activities, instant messaging and file sharing–on a low-, medium- or high-risk level based on triggers related to malware, spyware, phishing/online fraud, vulnerabilities, online attacks and spam.

Consumers want to feel more confident about their security when they are online, whether they are communicating via e-mail, conducting financial transactions on the Internet, chatting over instant messaging or sharing files. Just as prepared travelers check the weather forecast for their destination city, consumers who are online now have a tool they can use to help them prepare for a safe and productive experience on the Internet.

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