A flood of media attention means that users are more and more aware of contemporary computer security issues and the ploys which cybercriminals use to infiltrate their devices. However a survey by Harris Interactive, conducted in February and March 2012 among almost 9 000 consumers from the US, Russia and Europe, suggests that the level of awareness still leaves much to be desired.

For example, 34% of those surveyed are still concerned about catching a virus via an email attachment, even though according to Securelist statistics, just 3,3% of global email traffic was carrying infected files during the timeframe of the survey.

The problem of unsafe attachments is the second most recognised threat in the eyes of users. The top problem in the rating is the theft of financial information during online banking or shopping – 40% of the 9 000 respondents admitted this was a concern for them.

Unauthorised access to data stored on a device and installation of applications which request personal information without the user’s knowledge were ranked third and fourth respectively.

When asked by Harris Interactive to indicate the most serious threat, users slightly changed their priorities. While the fear of losing financial information remains in first place, concern about their children’s safety rose to second – 10% of those surveyed are most worried about what their kids do online, and who they might be talking to.

The top three is completed by fears over devices being lost or stolen, highlighted by 7% of consumers. This is a serious risk for users of mobile devices, and the best protection is to use dedicated software.