Microsoft Computing Safety Index Shows Consumers Do Little to Change Online Habits Despite Multiple Risks

 Microsoft Computing Safety Index Shows Consumers Do Little to Change Online
                        Habits Despite Multiple Risks

Global index shows need for more diligence in protecting personal information
at home and on mobile devices.

PR Newswire

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 5, 2013

REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Today on international Safer
Internet Day, Microsoft Corp. released the results of its second annual
Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI), revealing that more than half (55
percent) of global respondents are experiencing multiple online risks, yet
only 16 percent say they take multiple proactive steps to help protect
themselves and their data. This year the MCSI also examined mobile safety
behaviors, uncovering that although less than half of respondents (42 percent)
run software updates on their personal computers, only 28 percent run regular
updates on their mobile devices, potentially compounding their risk.



"Mobile devices often have just as much, if not more, valuable personal
information stored on them as a home computer, making mobile devices equally
attractive to data-stealing criminals," said Jacqueline Beauchere, Microsoft's
incoming chief online safety officer. "The latest MCSI results demonstrate
that no matter where or how people access the Internet, exercising safer
online habits is essential. There are steps that people can take and
technologies that they can employ to help prevent them from becoming a

The MCSI surveyed more than 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users in 20
countries and regions about their personal approach to online safety and
assigned a point scale of 0 to 100 based on their answers. The global average
score was 34 for PC online safety and 40 for mobile. An abbreviated version of
the MCSI is available at Microsoft Computing Safety Index Survey for people to
check how savvy they are when it comes to online safety.

Other key worldwide findings from the MCSI include the following:

  oTheft of password or account information was cited as a concern for 47
    percent of respondents, with 33 percent saying they use secure websites
    and 28 percent saying they avoid using open Wi-Fi spots on their mobile
  oForty-eight percent of respondents said they worry about computer viruses,
    with fewer than half (44 percent) turning and leaving on firewalls, and
    just more than half (53 percent) installing antivirus software on their
  oForty-five percent of those surveyed said they worry about having their
    identity stolen, yet only 34 percent have a PIN (personal identification
    number) to unlock their mobile device, and just 38 percent say they
    educate themselves about the latest steps to help prevent identity theft.

Microsoft offers a range of online safety tools and resources at, including the following practical steps
consumers can take to stay safer online:

  oLock your computer and accounts with strong passwords and your mobile
    phone with a unique, four-digit PIN.
  oDo not pay bills, bank, shop or conduct other sensitive business on a
    public computer, or on your laptop or mobile phone over "borrowed" or
    public Wi-Fi (such as a hotspot).
  oWatch for snoops. People scouting for passwords, PINs, user names or other
    such data may be watching your fingers or the screen as you enter that
  oTreat suspicious messages cautiously. Avoid offers too good to be true and
    be wary of their senders, even if the messages appear to come from a
    trusted source.
  oLook for signs that a Web page is secure and legitimate. Before you enter
    sensitive data, check for evidence of encryption (e.g., a Web address with
    "https" and a closed padlock beside it or in the lower right corner of the
  oReduce spam in your inbox. Share your primary email address and instant
    messaging name only with people you know or with reputable organizations.
    Avoid listing them on your social network page, in Internet directories
    (such as white pages) or on job-posting sites.

Countries surveyed in the MCSI were Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China,
Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia,
Singapore, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K. and the U.S.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in
software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their
full potential.

SOURCE Microsoft Corp.

Contact: Rapid Response Team, Waggener Edstrom Worldwide, +1-503-443-7070,
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