1 in 3 EU Internet users infected by malware

The EU has been at the forefront in leveraging IT advancements. The region has a high Internet penetration rate and over two-thirds of the population uses Internet. However, as is the case with other regions, Internet security has assumed significance due to rising incidents of cybercrime.

Recently, Eurostat released figures on Internet security in the EU region. The report summarizes the results of a survey conducted to study usage of information and communication technologies (ICT) in 27 member states of the Union.

The report reveals that computers of one-third of the Internet users were affected with some or other form of virus. Fifty eight percent of Internet users in Bulgaria reported computer virus infection followed by Malta and Slovakia. On the other hand, lowest instances of computer virus were reported in Austria, Ireland and Finland.

Around 7% of the Internet users in Bulgaria and Spain reported loss of information due to computer virus.

3% of the Internet users in the 27 member states of the EU suffered monetary losses due to phishing, pharming and misuse of payment cards such as credit and debit cards. 8% of the Internet users in Latvia reported monetary loss, followed by United Kingdom (U.K), Austria and Malta.

Incidentally, only one percent of the Internet users in Bulgaria reported financial loss. The report was released on the occasion of Safer Internet Day, a worldwide drive for safe Internet. Eurostat has cautioned against limited parental control on Internet usage by children in the EU region.

Criminals are devising clever and innovative ways to intrude, steal and hijack computer systems and networks. New forms of viruses, spyware, Trojan, and other malware are discovered frequently.

Criminals abuse personal and confidential information transmitted by Internet users. They also intrude into user accounts on different websites and extract sensitive private data. The threats in the Internet environment require proactive measures. Several developers are now taking the aid of information security professionals to test the vulnerabilities in the products developed by them.

Information security is crucial to leverage the tremendous benefits offered by Internet technology. Users must install and update their computers with latest firewalls, anti-virus, anti-spyware and anti-spam programs to protect against virus, Trojan, phishing and other attacks.

They must also regularly upgrade their software programs, applications and Internet browsers as suggested by software developers through security updates and version releases. Use of web-filtering software may help parents in exercising better control over Internet usage by children.

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