Consumers around the world are becoming increasingly aware of, and concerned by, online security issues, yet more people than ever are falling prey to cyber-scams, according to a survey from RSA.
The EMC unit polled 4539 Internet users in 22 counties across North and South America, Europe and Asia Pacific for its annual global online consumer security survey.
Despite the ever-growing popularity of online banking, 70% of respondents feel their banks should implement stronger security. Around 80% agree that their identities should be better protected than through a simple username and password for online banking.
In the UK, only 35% of consumers feel very secure when using online banking - a surprising figure given that 22 million Brits use it.
The results also show that consumer awareness of phishing attacks has doubled between 2007 and 2009, yet despite this, the number of people who reported falling prey to attacks increased six times during that same period.
RSA says this increase can be attributed to more advanced communications tactics and greater sophistication such as improved writing and Web design skills on the part of the fraudsters. Phishing attacks have also evolved, with offshoots such as "vishing", "smishing" and "spear phishing".
Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of people are joining social networking Web sites each day, yet the survey shows that nearly two in three (65%) people who belong to these online communities indicate they are less likely to interact or share information due to their growing security concerns.
RSA says social networking sites have become a hotbed for online criminals because of their global reach and the participation by hundreds of millions of active users from all walks of life.
Although this does not appear to stop people using the sites, four out of five survey respondents who belong to them are concerned with the safety of their personal information online.
Christopher Young, SVP, RSA, says: "Organisations will continue to take advantage of the many benefits offered by the Internet and consumers will seek the convenience offered online - all despite the inherent risks. In order to maximise the full value of what the online world can offer, organisations need to take a layered approach to Internet security in order to best protect their customers' information."