Men Think They Are More Secure Online

    January 30, 2008

The majority of men think that they know more about online security than women, but a new poll indicates that both sexes are equally vulnerable to online threats.

The poll of 1,400 UK adults revealed that men are more likely to be confident about their online security and only 4 percent are unsure of what protection their computer has. "My gut feeling, because I’m a man, is that it is one of those societal gender things," said Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at AVG, which commissioned the study.

"Men feel that they are more in control of what they do. It’s like map reading. In fact the risk is equal among the sexes." Even so 1-in-5 men say they have experienced fraudulent emails and one -in- three have experienced some type of cybercrime. Those who were affected by cybercrime, just 18 percent changed their Internet usage habits.

Bridwell said that does not mean that men are not concerned about security, but they are not able to do anything about the situation. "It would be comical if it wasn’t sad," he said. "Users are locked in. In my case I fly between 100,000 and 200,000 miles a year, so I have to pay for things online. If I didn’t I’d have a horrible credit rating and no power at home."

One in five men say they would feel stupid if they were a victim of cyber theft. Forty percent of men feel more should be done to make people aware of how to avoid cyber theft.

Women lean towards being more cautious about the level of cyber protection they have. They still continue to shop and do their banking online as much as men do.

Bridwell recommends that consumers do not use an unfamiliar PC or laptop for personal transactions, and to use only established online payment systems. He also says to never open email from people you don’t know and not to open or save attachments unless you know the sender.

"Since instances of cyber theft are about the same for both sexes it shows that women need to familiarize themselves more with Internet security so that they can use the Web with greater confidence," said Bridwell.

"Men on the other hand need to be less macho and think twice about whether they have really done enough to protect themselves – especially when it comes to the amount of personal information they supply when making purchases and financial transactions online."