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IBM Survey: Consumers Think Cybercrime Now Three Times More Likely Than Physical Crime

Changing Nature of Crime Leads to Significant Behavior-Changes

ARMONK, NY - 25 Jan 2006: More Americans anticipate falling victim to a cyber attack rather than a physical crime, reports a recent IBM survey of U.S. adults. And, despite the convenience and flexibility that online transactions offer, 37 percent of Americans will not provide credit card information online.

Surveying almost 700 participants that have Internet access at work or home, IBM reveals that, in the next twelve months, more than three times the number of respondents think it is more likely they will be the victim of a cybercrime (ie, attacked through networked devices such as computers, ATMs, mobile phones, PDAs, etc.) than a physical crime.

This comes as those respondents report that over the last 12 months, incidents of these cybercrimes are already on par with physical crime. Six percent of respondents purport to have been the victim of a cybercrime within the past 12 months; while only a handful more report having fallen victim to physical crimes (seven percent). One percent were unsure whether they had been the victim of a cybercrime.

Based on the survey, 70 percent of online shoppers will buy from a trusted Web site, while more than half of Americans are "very concerned" or "concerned" to buy from an unknown online retailer. In addition, one out of three Americans are "very concerned' or "concerned" about banking online - either to make a transaction or pay a bill. As a result of these fears, 75 percent of Americans are already taking precautionary measures to protect themselves. The top reason for taking these precautions is the threat of identity theft - reported by 43 percent of respondents. Other reported reasons include loss of money (24 percent) and harm to credit rating (13 percent).

"As much as consumers have adopted and embraced technology, they are also aware that with advancement and innovation comes the opportunity to abuse the rapid spread of the electronic world," said Stuart McIrvine, director if IBM's security strategy. "They are also cognizant that they need to protect themselves from this emerging threat, in much the same way that they would protect themselves from the threat of a physical crime. As awareness of these new threats emerges, it is key that consumers, business and government agencies work together to ensure that everything from education to retail is protected to help alleviate public worry about cybercrimes."

Increased anxiety about the possibility of a cyber attack leads to changed consumer behavior. Thus, the study also finds that more than 53 percent of Americans hold themselves most responsible for protecting themselves from cybercrime, instilling less trust in security companies, law enforcement agencies and Websites. As most of the following results show, Americans are changing their own behavior to protect themselves against cyber attack.
For example:

In the last 12 months, survey respondents have taken certain actions to protect themselves against the growing cybercrime threat:

Methodology: Opinion Research Corporation conducted this survey on behalf of IBM. A total of 679 telephone interviews were conducted with adults comprising of 337 males and 342 females age 18 or older, living in private households in the continental United States. Completed interviews were weighted by four variables: age, sex, geographic region, and race to ensure reliable and accurate representation of total population of 18 years and older. Respondents qualified for the survey based on home or office access to the Internet. The questionnaire consisted of ten closed-ended questions, not including screeners or demographics, and was fielded at the 95 percent confidence level with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

Contact(s) information

Adam Emery
IBM Media Relations
(914) 766-4696
adame@us.ibm.com

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