AVG commissioned the survey of 3,774 Americans and Canadians with access to the Internet to evaluate their online and mobile behaviors. Timed to coincide with the launch of AVG Internet Security 2013, the study looked at efforts to thwart identity theft, loss of personal data and fraudulent debit and credit card charges.
“As a follow-up to last year’s ranking of North American cities most likely to be ‘digitally duped,’ AVG’s savviest-cities survey sheds positive light on the extent to which consumers are educated about how to protect their online assets,” said JR Smith, CEO of AVG.
According to the survey, 65 percent of US respondents have not shared online or mobile passwords with anyone at all. Canada is slightly higher, with 70 percent of individuals keeping their passwords to themselves. 61 percent of respondents in the U.S. use a different password for every website visited; 49 percent do so in Canada. Not surprisingly, less than 25 percent of U.S. and Canadian respondents use a monitoring service or tool to protect their online identity. However 41 percent of these consumers recognize the need to do so.
51 percent of Americans back up computer data with USB sticks, external hard drives or other storage solutions, while 54 percent of Canadians do the same. The findings also showed that despite prevalent use of mobile devices, 34 percent of U.S. and 45 percent of Canadian respondents would have to manually re-enter data should their smartphone or tablet be lost or stolen.
34 percent of consumers in the U.S. use only one credit or debit card to conduct online purchases, while an encouraging 46 percent of consumers do in Canada. 38 percent of US and 28 percent of Canadian respondents look at bank statements more than once a week for inaccuracies or problems.
Overall, rankings for the savviest North American cities for online security are:
2. New York
3. Los Angeles
5. Washington D.C.
11. San Francisco
In addition to installing a free, robust antivirus program on all your online devices, AVG recommends the following simple steps to minimize the risk of fraudulent charges, identity theft and personal data loss:
- Use one credit card with a low spending limit for all online purchases. Monitor this account regularly, and flag any inappropriate activity immediately to the bank or lending institution.
- Change passwords regularly, use variations for each online account, and never, ever share them with others.
- Back up data! Back up data on computers with external hard drives or a cloud-based solution and don’t forget about mobile devices, too.
- Protect data on the go. The more personal information is shared via mobile devices, the more hackers will target these tools.
- Be wary of phishing scams. Never click on links in emails from banks, or other financial institutions – go directly to their URL and enter your log-in information from their homepage.
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