Journalists flunk online security 101

San Francisco (CA) – A recent survey commissioned by AVG found that 80 percent of media staff “rarely or never” informed their network administrator of online security concerns. In addition, more than half refused to change their passwords, even though 13 percent experienced critical data loss or system failure due to hostile malware.

“It is disconcerting to see what in concept is a very informed audience knowingly rolling the dice when it comes to staying secure on line – it is an important indicator of the practices of the general consumers,” explained Siobhan MacDermott, head of global communications and investor relations with AVG. “If the informed press is exposed, then even more so is the home user that is not as savvy at detecting or protecting against the latest scam.”

According to MacDermott, nearly 70 percent of press reporters and editors felt threatened by online malware or spyware and most expressed concern over conducting everyday online activities as part of their business. MacDermott also noted that while 57 percent of the reporters surveyed considered themselves advanced or expert at detecting online risks, the majority failed to follow basic security practices.

“As governments continue to fight against cybercrime and cyberterrorism, users that knowingly take risks and fail to secure their systems make the community more vulnerable,” said MacDermott. “The value of the research is not that it exposes journalists, but rather it gives us great insight to how our more knowledgeable users are, or are not, protecting themselves. This tells the security community that we have a great deal of work to do as users are not doing many of the basics.”