Internet users are placing themselves at risk online, despite becoming increasing worried about cyber threats.
According to Kaspersky Lab’s annual Consumer Security Risks Survey 2015 - surveying 18,000 people worldwide - 31 percent of respondents are prepared to enter personal or financial data on websites that they are unsure of.
That’s an increase on 30 percent in 2014 with the number of users convinced they will not be targeted by a cyberattack jumping from 40 percent to 46 percent.
The survey has also found that Internet users often do not recognise a potential threat when they encounter one.
The test sees respondents confronted with several potentially dangerous situations that occur regularly on the Internet when surfing the Web, such as, downloading files or viewing social networking sites.
Each scenario offers a choice of several answers. Depending on the possible negative consequences, each answer is assigned a score - the safer the user's choice, the higher the score, and vice versa.
“Self-preservation is an integral part of our existence,” says Andrew Mamonitis, Managing Director, Kaspersky Lab A/NZ.
“In the real world we know how to reduce the risk of money or property loss: we’ve learnt about it from an early age.
“When we’re offline we’re always on guard, but when it comes to the Internet the self-preservation instinct often fails us.
“And, of course, today everything has a digital format: our personal life, intellectual property and money. All this requires that we adopt the same kind of responsibility as in real life, as the cost of making a mistake online can be just as high.
“That’s why we encourage everyone to evolve with technology and improve their cyber savviness.”
Representatives from 16 countries scored an average of 95 points out of a possible 150. For Mamonitis, this means respondents only chose safe options in half of the hypothetical situations; in the remaining situations they exposed themselves to the risk of unpleasant consequences.
The test has also revealed that only 24 percent of respondents were able to identify a genuine web page without also selecting a phishing (i.e. fake) page.
In addition, 58 percent of those surveyed selected only phishing sites designed to steal people's credentials without choosing the genuine page while one in 10 users was prepared to open an attached file without checking it - the equivalent of manually launching a malicious program in many cases.
Finally, 19 percent would disable a security solution if it tried to prevent the installation of a program.