Microsoft Computing Safety Index shows Australia is an online safety leader

Microsoft Computing Safety Index shows Australia is an online safety leader

5 February, 2013 | Sydney, Australia

SYDNEY, Australia Feb.5, 2013 — Today, on international Safer Internet Day, Microsoft released the results of its second annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index (MCSI). The results reveal the 2012 average global score of 34 (out of 100 possible points), is identical to the first Index, indicating that despite greater awareness of risks and increased focus on privacy, consumers have maintained the same online safety habits and still have room to improve their proactive, protective measures. Australia achieved a score of 39, earning it a ranking among the most proactive countries—along with Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Singapore and the United Kingdom. Overall, Australians tend to experience fewer problems but nevertheless remain vigilant about the dangers they may encounter online.

This year Microsoft also added a mobile component to the study – the Mobile MCSI – which seeks to understand consumer adoption of proven online tools and behaviours specifically to help protect them whilst on their mobile devices, such as smart phones. The Australia 2012 Mobile MCSI score was 42 out of a possible 100 points —indicating that consumers have a good understanding of how to protect themselves on their mobile devices.

“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 victim.”

The MCSI surveyed more than 10,000 PC, smartphone and tablet users in 20 countries and regions about their personal approach to online safety. 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:

  • Theft 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 devices.

  • Forty-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 PCs.

  • Forty-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 safetWEy tools and resources at, including the following practical steps consumers can take to stay safer online:

  • Lock your computer and accounts with strong passwords and your mobile phone with a unique, four-digit PIN.

  • Do 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).

  • Watch 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 data.

  • Treat 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.

  • Look 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 window).

  • Reduce spam in your inbox. Share your primary email address and instant messaging name only with people you know or with reputable organisations. Avoid listing them on your social network page, in Internet directories (such as white pages) or on job-posting sites.

  • ThinkUKnow. An Internet safety program delivering interactive training to parents, carers and teachers through schools and organisations across Australia using a network of accredited trainers.

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.

– Ends –

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

For more information, media only:

Sophie Kriefman,
Ogilvy PR,
+ 61 (0) 28 437 5348
[email protected]

Tags: Microsoft Australia

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