News Column

Consumer Reports' Survey Shows 62% of Online Consumers do Nothing to Protect Their Internet Privacy

June 9, 2014

Despite a rash of high-profile data breaches and cyber threats, an alarming 62 percent of U.S. online consumers have done nothing to protect their privacy on the Internet, according to a recent national Consumer Reports survey, the organization has announced.

According to a release from the organization, a new report, published online at ConsumerReports.org and in the July issue of Consumer Reports, exposes some of the ingenious methods cybercriminals have been using to prey on the unsuspecting, as well as ways consumers can recognize their points of vulnerability and strengthen their defenses.

"The most effective defense against an international onslaught of shadowy hackers is being a well-informed and vigilant individual," said Glenn Derene, Electronics Editor for Consumer Reports. "It should be clear by now that consumers can't rely solely on institutions to safeguard their valuable personal information online. Our report identifies some tools that can help people shut the door on cybercriminals."

Consumer Reports noted that for online consumers the first step in protecting themselves is to know where they're exposed. The CR report lists 9 areas of vulnerability - from hospitals to cloud services. Some cloud services such as Dropbox and Evernote have a spotty security record. Dropbox has had several breaches over the past few years; and in 2013, a hack of Evernote exposed the user names and e-mail addresses of about 50 million users.

The CR report also includes profiles of seven recent security disasters, a field guide to stronger passwords, as well as reviews of online security software.

Consumer Reports is an independent product-testing organization.

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