The fourth annual report from Webroot on consumer security behavior across the U.S. revealed that there is a high need to adopt the best cybersecurity practices at present as more people are working remotely than ever before. The report, “A Look at 2020’s Most (and Least) Cyber-Secure States” also highlighted the continued need for greater security awareness education nationwide. Webroot, an OpenText company, partnered with Wakefield Research to conduct the survey. The survey provides insight into the consumer outlook on cyber hygiene.
The report stated that almost all (89%) Americans say they’re taking appropriate steps to protect against cyber risks, but there is a lack of understanding when it comes to cybersecurity. Almost half (49%) of Americans still use the same password across multiple accounts and only 37% keep their social media accounts private. It is also found that the majority of Americans say they are familiar with malware (78%) and phishing scams (68%), but only about a third feel confident they can explain what malware or phishing is. Around 83% of Americans use antivirus software and regularly back up their data (80%), but only 50% of them know if their backup is encrypted and only 18% back up their data online and offline.
The report recommended some basic guidelines to stay cyber resilient during the pandemic, which includes:
- Protect devices with antivirus and a VPN
- Keep antivirus software and other apps up to date
- Use a secure backup program
- Create strong, unique passwords (and do not share them) or use a password manager
- Be extra cautious with links – hover over them to check the full URL or type the website directly into the browser
Webroot’s researchers also provided each states’ online security standards, ranks, know-how and habits and measured people’s ability to prevent attacks. Webroot security analyst Tyler Moffitt, said, “This is the fourth consecutive year we’ve seen the same high levels of consumer misunderstanding and general overconfidence when it comes to cybersecurity practices and safety. In fact, only 11% of Americans scored an ‘A’ grade on our index, and no state scored above a ‘D’. The need for better cyber hygiene and security education is clear, especially as more Americans work from home.”
The findings of the survey are based on the responses from 10,000 U.S. consumers, 200 from each state.