Half Of Consumers Are Not Aware Of Online Threats?

Ars Technica quotes a recent study by Microsoft that found that 58% of American consumers didn’t even know “online threats” existed. The study also found that of the ones that did know about said threats, 17% of them had fallen for some sort of Internet scam—and 81% of those people said it was their fault for opening suspicious emails or sending information to strange companies because they had a nice logo.

Sigh. Consumer Reports says Internet scams have cost American consumers $7 billion dollars since 2005. According to Consumer Reports, between spam, spyware, phishing, and viruses—you have a 1 in 4 chance of becoming a “cybervictim.”

Please: Tell a friend! Internet scams exist—and we’ve heard rumors that knowing is half the battle.

Half of Americans clueless about online threats [Ars Technica]


Edit Your Comment

  1. Recury says:

    “Are you aware of online threats?”

    “What online threats?”

    (writes down “no”)

  2. joeblevins says:

    Well, if you fall for a stupid get rich scheme it is your fault. Why the italics on that? Seems like they figured out they were dumbasses and have learned from thier mistakes. Are we supposed to say they were blameless victims?

  3. Moosehawk says:

    “According to Consumer Reports, between spam, spyware, phishing, and viruses-you have a 1 in 4 chance of becoming a “cybervictim.””

    A 1/4 chance if you’re unaware. Even higher chances if you’re an idiot about it.

    I’ve used online shopping, banking, friend networking, and credit card subscriptions online for over 6-7 years now and I haven’t had a single problem. I’ve never had any of my information hacked, any spyware I get I clear out every week when I run ad-aware.

    I’m not saying it can’t happen, but knowing which sites to trust with any of your information can easily lower your chances of a security breach.

  4. timmus says:

    Half of Americans have an IQ below 100. That’s 150 million. Good luck trying to fix this. I think the e-commerce jobs in Nigeria will continue to have a rosy future.

  5. Youthier says:

    I actually admire the 81% for admitting to their own stupidity and taking responsibilty for their actions. Hopefully they learned something.

    Cue the strummy music to signify the end of this episode of “Full House”.

  6. @Recury: They probably thought they meant Internet terrorism or something. If they said spam, spyware, phishing, and viruses instead of threats that number would be much lower.

    (Does anyone think of spam as a threat?)

  7. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:


    If you’re getting *spyware* every week (not cookies) then you have a problem.

  8. jaredgood1 says:

    Hey, nobody said that the internet would be all sunshine and lolcats. Where are all these people when I’m trying to offload some swampland?

  9. trimtab says:

    50% is knowing. 40% is not using an operating system that requires Antivirus software to be used safely.

    Windows with AV software is still unsafe on the Internet because virus developers test against all the major AntiVirus products. Most have an 80% failure rate against new threats.

    The whole idea of trying to determine “bad programs” from good ones is futile in any case as there will always be more bad ones.

    So called “safe computing” practices work only up to a point. Threats do appear regularly on major sites or in a search result.

    The solution is to move off the Microsoft Windows platform. Both Linux and Mac do not need Antivirus software to be safely used on the Internet. Each can also virtualize Windows, so you can preserve your Windows application investment and no longer fear Windows infections.

    The last 10% are phishing type threats which occur on all platforms.

  10. kingoman says:

    So 17% have educated themselves and there’s a potentially untapped market of 83% out there (and that’s of *today’s* users, there are new users coming on-line all the time). Yep, looks good for the scammers, doesn’t it?

    Knowing is 99.9% of the battle.

  11. @jaredgood1: “sunshine and lolcats” …. BWAH HA HA HA HA

  12. Trai_Dep says:

    In other words, Windows users (not the uber-knowledgeable kind, the must-buy-cheap-at-any-cost kind)

  13. CumaeanSibyl says:

    I wonder, of that 58%, how many are not regular internet users. If you only have access at the public library, or at work, or if you’ve just stayed behind the curve for whatever reason, you wouldn’t have much call to know about “online threats.”

    Of course, that can’t account for all of it. It may be the terminology — I mean, I think anyone who’s ever had an email account is aware of spam, but how many would consider it a threat instead of a nuisance?

  14. Nemesis_Enforcer says:

    @Rectilinear Propagation: I would think they are using the hey buy Viagra for 67 cents a pill type of spam in this poll.

  15. hoo_foot says:

    The biggest news is that 81 percent of those polled admitted that it was their responsibility. I didn’t think the notion of personal responsibility existed in our culture anymore!

  16. MyCokesBiggerThanYours says:

    I wonder how many of those 58% are actual internet users and consumers. My guess is that its a very low portion.

  17. karimagon says:


    Exactly. What a horribly worded question. I’d answer no, just to protest its vagueness.

  18. notebook says:

    … Are you serious?


    Hopefully my generation’s a bit smarter then that. >>;;

  19. Brajeshwar says:

    The thumb rule one should follow is
    “If it is so easy, something is fishy”.

  20. @Nemesis_Enforcer: THREAT DOWN! Down now, damnit!