In support of international Safer Internet Day (SID) and following the release of the latest results of the third annual Microsoft Computing Safer Index (MCSI), Microsoft Corporation is embarking on a campaign, asking consumers to â€œDo 1 Thingâ€ to stay safer online and commit to doing so on a new, interactive website, http://www.microsoft.com/saferonline.
The new site allows Internet users around the world to share how they plan to avoid online risks, learn what other people are doing to help protect themselves, and receive instant tips to enhance their digital lifestyle.
Chief Online Safety Officer for Microsoft, Jacqueline Beauchere, said: “The Internet touches our lives every day; we email to stay connected, share photos and videos, pay bills, and shop. Sometimes, though, the very experiences that we love about the Internet put us at risk.â€
Anti-Piracy, Legal & Corporate Affairs lawyer for Microsoft Middle East & Africa, Marius Haman, said: â€œSub-Saharan Africa is home to one of the worldâ€™s fastest growing internet populations, which means more and more people are accessing the internet for the first time, providing a large and unsuspecting base of targets to cybercriminals. Combine this with the lack of strong cybercrime laws and high piracy rate on the continent and its clear why weâ€™re seeing more and more people fall victim to attacks.â€
According to the MCSI survey, the annual worldwide impact of phishing and various forms of identity theft could be as high as $5 billion, with the cost of repairing damage to peoplesâ€™ online reputation higher yet at nearly $6 billion, or an estimated average of $632 per loss. This means that education and guidance about how to avoid online risks remain key and is why Microsoft is asking people to â€œDo 1 Thingâ€ today and make it part of their daily digital routine.
Of the more than 10,000 consumers surveyed, 15 per cent said they were victims of a phishing attack, losing on average $158., and 13 per cent said their professional reputation had been compromised, costing on average $535 to repair while 9 per cent said they had suffered identity theft at an average cost of $218, according to the survey.
Yet despite such losses, only 36 per cent said they limit what strangers see on social networks and the amount of personal information online, while 33 per cent said they adjust their social network privacy settings. And, only 33 percent use a PIN (personal identification number) or password to lock their mobile device.
â€œThere are many things you can do to stay safer online. If we all do just one thing, imagine how much safer we all will be, together,â€ Beauchere said, adding: â€œGo to our website to share your one thing. Tell the world that youâ€™re committed to helping keep the Internet safer and more secure. And once you do, youâ€™ll be part of that positive change.â€