Microsoft Survey Reveals Americans Worry About Their PCs Being Compromised

By Kasey Schefflin-Emrich October 30, 2014

A new survey by Microsoft polled a little over 1,000 people and discovered that roughly four in 10 Americans report enduring either daily or weekly attempts by cyber criminals to gain access to their personal computer. Among other types of electronic devices, 28 percent of individuals between 18 and 74 years old said they have been attacked through a landline telephone, 22 percent through a tablet computer and 18 percent through their mobile phone.

The survey also revealed that the way cyber criminals are trying to obtain people's personal information is changing. Traditional scams such as fake lottery winnings and advance-fee fraud schemes have decreased and have been replaced with scams such as ones involving social networking sites.

Luckily, on a positive note, Americans are becoming more aware of the risks posed by the digital age and have taken measures to protect themselves from being a target of criminals.

Almost three-quarters of survey respondents reported taking steps to safeguard their mobile devices, which is up from roughly half of those surveyed just two years ago. Specific approaches that respondents have taken include only downloading apps from trusted sources, regularly updating mobile programs and apps, using a PIN or passcode to keep devices locked when not in use, and using the most current version of an operating system.

While criminals use personal information often for one-time fraud purposes, they also use it to commit identify theft. To further protect personal data and prevent individuals from becoming a victim of this increasingly common crime, Microsoft advises people to avoid sharing sensitive details in emails and instant/text messages; using passwords that include upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols; checking monthly balances and managing lines of credit; and using legitimate anti-malware programs.

Edited by Rory J. Thompson

TechZone360 Contributing Writer

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