Most Online Users Can't Spot Dodgy Downloads

A full three-quarters (74%) of internet users would download a potentially malicious file, because they lack the ‘cyber-savviness’ they need to spot dangers online.

Those are the results of a global quiz from Kaspersky Lab that questioned 18,000 Internet users about their online habits. Quiz-takers were asked to download the song "Yesterday" by the Beatles. Out of the four download options, only one was a safe wma. file, intentionally named Betles.Yesterday.wma. This was the file chosen by just a quarter (26%) of respondents, who spotted that it was a harmless file type, despite the spelling error in the file’s name.

The most dangerous file option, exe. contained the well-known “MP3” term as part of its name. Beatles_Yesterday.mp3.exe tricked a third (34%) of respondents into selecting it.

Another 14% chose an scr. screensaver download, a file type which has recently been used to spread malicious material, and 26% selected the zip. option, which also could have contained some dangerous files.

The inability of users to spot danger online is not limited to music. According to the survey, one in five (21%) users download files from a variety of online sources, increasing their risk of encountering a malicious supplier. During the survey, only 24% of users could recognize a genuine webpage, without selecting a phishing option. In addition, while specifying the web pages on which they were prepared to enter their data, over half (58%) of users only named fake sites.

The findings follow recent consumer research from Kaspersky Lab and B2B International, which disclosed that 45% of Internet users globally have encountered a malware incident in the last 12 months, yet 13% of those who had been affected didn’t know how.

“Consumers need to make themselves more aware of the dangers of the online world, in order to protect themselves and others,” said David Emm, principal security researcher at Kaspersky Lab says. “If a consumer is in a dodgy bar, they are unlikely to start counting large sums of cash, it just would not be streetwise or sensible. The same sort of instinct should come into play when consumers go online.”

Checking for signs of malicious activity, and knowing how to spot a phishing page or dangerous download option is vital.

“However, no matter how cyber-savvy a person is, it is unsafe to go online without putting security solutions in place,” Emm added. “Cyber-criminals are constantly developing new ways to target people and only the most up to date security software can protect users against some threats.”

Photo © wk1003mike

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