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Jul 25 2007   8:57AM GMT

Another study shows end users’ lack of awareness

Bcournoyer Brendan Cournoyer Profile: Bcournoyer

I have a friend who works for an IT help desk. A few weeks back, an employee called him up and asked — and I quote — “How do I use the Internet?”

Now, a new study by Trend Micro is confirming what most people (especially IT help desk employees) already knew: A lot of end users are clueless about the technology they work with daily.

This study specifically focused on Web threats — malware from the Internet that can install malicious software, steal sensitive information and use up a computer’s resources. Of the 1,600 end users who responded from the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan, just 54% said they were aware of such threats. Germany had the most aware users at 63%, ahead of the U.K. (57%) and United States (54%). Only 43% of Japanese users said they were aware of Web threats, but Trend Micro said that data may be wrong because “Web threats,” as a phrase, “is difficult to translate into Japanese and is not often used.”

The results show that awareness of Web threats is “slowly” rising, Trend Micro said. The results also indicated that Web threats are the third most serious IT security issue, behind viruses and trojans. Other threats that received mention were pharming, phishing and spam. In a press release, Trend Micro’s anti-malware CTO, Raimund Genes, said Web threats are “perhaps the greatest challenge to protecting the privacy of personal information and the confidentiality of corporate information.”

As vendors are wont to do with these kinds of studies, Trend Micro uses these results to push the need for “a multi-layered, comprehensive set of techniques … to address the newest class of threats” — in this case, the Trend Micro Web Threat Protection Strategy product.

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