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U.S. Cyber Risk Report Highlights Need for Cyber Resilience and Security Education

Annual Report Underlines the Need to Improve Cyber security Education During the Peak of Remote Work

OpenText released Webroot’s fourth annual report on consumer security behavior across the U.S. The report, “A Look at 2020’s Most (And Least) Cyber-Secure States” sheds light on the continued need for greater security awareness education nationwide.

“The global COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of good cyber resilience habits,” said Mark J. Barrenechea, OpenText CEO & CTO. “Our threat Intelligence platform has tracked cybercriminals that create malicous websites mentioning COVID and coronavirus, insert malware into popular video conferencing tools and test users every day with phishing attacks. Both businesses and individuals need to learn about these threats, work with their technology partners and take steps to increase their cyber resilience.”

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At a time when more people are working remotely than ever before, the report highlights the need to adopt cybersecurity best practices. While most citizens believe they are taking appropriate steps to protect themselves online, almost half (49%) of Americans still use the same password across multiple accounts and only 37% keep their social medial accounts private.

“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,” said Webroot security analyst Tyler Moffitt. “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.”

In order to stay cyber resilience during the pandemic, there are some basic guidelines to follow:

  1. Protect devices with antivirus and a VPN
  2. Keep antivirus software and other apps up to date
  3. Use a secure backup program
  4. Create strong, unique passwords (and don’t share them) or use a password manager
  5. Be extra cautious with links – hover over them to check the full URL or type the website directly into the browser

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Notable Report Findings:

Almost all (89%) Americans say they’re taking appropriate steps to protect themselves online, but there is a general lack of understanding when it comes to cybersecurity.

  • Few Americans practice all key benchmark metrics (including using anti-virus software, backing up data and keeping social media profiles private) needed to protect themselves from cyberattacks – the average American scored a 58% on our index (an “F” grade) and only 11% scored 90% or higher (an “A” grade).
  • A 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.
  • 83% of Americans use anti-virus software and regularly back up their data (80%), but only half know if their backup is encrypted and only 18% back up their data online and offline.
  • Almost half (49%) of Americans use the same password across multiple accounts and only 37% keep their social medial accounts private.

Over three-quarters (78%) of Americans who have had their identity stolen have made changes to their online behavior as a result.

  • Those who have had their identity stolen are more likely than those who have not to:
  • Regularly monitor bank accounts (31% vs. 22%)
  • Regularly monitor credit card statements (26% vs. 16%)
  • Keep software up to date (26% vs. 16%)
  • Regularly check credit reports (25% vs. 15%).
  • 73% of employed Americans who have had their identity stolen have looked into the security of their work devices, while 59% of those who have not say the same thing.

Over half (55%) of Americans routinely use their employer-provided work device for personal use.

  • 38% consider an employer-provided work device to be their “primary” device for use at home.
  • Almost half (48%) have never looked into the security of their work devices, and only a third have taken any steps to improve its security.
  • Roughly a quarter (26%) believe their personal devices are more secure than their work devices.

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