Journalists Not Protecting Themselves Online

Poll Results Indicative of Larger Problem

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BPM Forum and AVG Technologies released some interesting findings from the Protect the Press Poll, a survey of the cyber security habits of the working press. The biggest takeaway is that the supposedly well-informed members of the press are no better at protecting themselves online than the average user.

Siobhan MacDermott"It is disconcerting to see what in concept is a very informed audience knowingly rolling the dice when it comes to staying secure on line – it is an important indicator of the practices of general consumers," said Siobhan MacDermott, head of global communications and investor relations with AVG. "If the informed press is exposed, then even more so is the home user that is not as savvy at detecting or protecting against the latest scam."

"The value of the research is not that it exposes journalists, but rather it gives us great insight to how our more knowledgeable users are, or are not, protecting themselves," said MacDermott. "This tells the security community that we have a great deal of work to do as users are not doing many of the basics."

Here are some highlights from the poll:

- More than half don’t change their passwords, or rely on their company to do it for them, even though 13 percent have experienced critical data loss or system failure due to malware to their systems.

– 80 percent of media staff rarely or never inform their network administrator of online security concerns they encounter.

– 36 percent use Wi-Fi networks most of the time, potentially endangering them to security risks associated with public networks

– 90 percent of them use some sort of social networking site, with LinkedIn (75 percent) the most popular site followed by Facebook (70 percent) and Twitter (51 percent).

–  20 percent access social networking sites both from their mobile phone and their computer

"Clearly, we’ve got to do a better job as a security community in shifting the mentality of our users from one that is dependent on the system to keep them safe to one that takes personal accountability and understands their role in the security continuum," said MacDermott. "Users have to understand they are a vital piece of [the] equation and that they have a great deal of ownership in shoring up their cyberspaces."

According to AVG, over 40,000 new viruses and malware arrive in virus labs around the world every day. Many of these are documented in the media. 


Journalists Not Protecting Themselves Online
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