Spam, phishing emails and fake AV are the three threats which Internet users encounter most frequently. This was the conclusion reached by analysts at Harris Interactive, based on the results of their survey, conducted in February-March 2012 among 9 000 users from the US, Russia, the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
In the survey, 24% of respondents faced annoying offers to install fake antivirus software to “secure” their computer. Typically, the link to these bogus programs is contained in a pop-up, along with a fake warning about the PC being infected.
Email is another common source of threats, with almost a third of users (31%) complaining of numerous spam emails. This is hardly a surprise: according to Securelist, 75% of the world’s email traffic in March 2012 was unsolicited correspondence.
Emails, which, purported to come from a bank or a site admin, and which sought logins, passwords and other personal data, reached 23% of those surveyed by Harris Interactive. Emails with suspicious attachments or links (and similar messages in social networks) were received by 27% of users. The problem is aggravated by the fact that, according to the same survey, 18% of respondents struggle to differentiate between authentic emails and spam. It is clear that users who are regularly online face a wide range of threats and need modern protection tools for their PCs and mobile devices.
Interestingly, these threats seemed to affect Russian-based users more than most. In particular, Russians are twice as likely to encounter irritating pop-up windows (52%), fake notifications about infected PCs (48%) and unwanted web pages which open automatically (23%). Phishing messages are the only online threats which are seen less often in Russia than in Europe or America.