Seventy-One Percent of Consumers Lack Knowledge on the Internet's Fastest Growing Cyber Crime Threat, 'Botnets'

SAN FRANCISCO , April 9 /PRNewswire/ -- RSA Conference, April 9, 2008 -- Today, at the RSA conference, the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) announced study findings that 71 percent of consumers lack the knowledge on cyber criminals' weapon of choice and the Internet's fastest growing threat -- botnets. This is quite alarming considering botnets are comprised mostly of consumers' computers and are increasingly being used to perpetrate identity theft and spread viruses.

"Last June, the FBI identified more than one million computers infected with malware which could have been hijacked and used as part of an army of bots to attack other computers, spread malware, or attack our nation's infrastructure," said Ron Teixeira , executive director of the NCSA. "Botnets continue to be an increasing threat to consumers and homeland security. Consumers' unsecured computers play a major role in helping cyber criminals conduct cyber crimes not only on the victim's computer, but also against others connected to the Internet."

The study also reveals that Americans are largely unaware their computer's security plays a role in our nation's security and preventing online crime. A majority of respondents think it is not likely their computer could affect homeland security while only 51 percent think it is possible for a hacker to use their computer to launch cyber attacks.

"It is alarming that consumers do not know how to secure their computers," said Teixeira. "It is important for consumers to understand that safe cyber security practices not only protect them from identity theft, but also prevent cyber crime and attacks. By taking simple steps, consumers can protect themselves from cyber crimes and join our effort to protect other Internet users."

*2,249 online consumers between the ages of 18 and 65 were surveyed using the online panel managed by Harris Interactive. The panel is widely regarded as statistically reflective of the general U.S. online population. The interviews were conducted with randomly selected U.S. consumers.

About National Cyber Security Alliance

The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is a collaborative effort among experts in the security, non-profit, academic and government fields to teach consumers, small businesses and members of the education community about Internet security. The NCSA aims to increase awareness about the risks associated with using Internet technologies and how to help protect against them, while also providing free tips, checklists and best practices for remaining safe while online. For more information, visit

SOURCE National Cyber Security Alliance