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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States


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News & Articles

October 10, 2014 |

Poll: High Numbers of Americans Leave Themselves Vulnerable to Hackers

During Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Digital Citizens Alliance and Blackfin Security make “Personal Threat Assessment” available to help Americans protect themselves and their devices.

A new survey of personal online security habits shows large numbers of Americans are putting their devices and personal information at-risk. The Zogby Analytics poll, commissioned by the Digital Citizens Alliance and Blackfin Security, shows that Americans open their devices up to unknown entities, download files of unknown origin at high rates, and even ignore best practices when they know they should do otherwise.

As part of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, the Digital Citizens Alliance and Blackfin Security have created a Personal Threat Assessment – a series of ten questions that Americans can administer themselves to see if they are taking some basic steps to ensure their devices and data are both secure. To take the quiz yourself, go to this page on the Digital Citizens Alliance website.

“The hackings of Home Depot, Target, and other large retailers may be lulling Americans into thinking that it’s big corporations that are rogue operators’ prime targets, but that’s a mistake,” says Adam Benson, deputy executive director of the Digital Citizens Alliance. “Hackers want personal data – credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers. They’ll look for open windows – and the online behavior we see reflected in this survey tells us that millions of Americans are leaving the windows open, the doors unlocked, and even giving some hackers the key to get in.”

“There may not be a lot that we as individuals can do to stop the next data breach of a large corporation, but there is definitely room for improvement in how we handle our personal data,” explains Josh Larsen, co-founder and CEO of Blackfin Security. “As we become more connected in nearly every facet of our lives, we have to take more precautions and be aware that nearly every connection we make online presents an opportunity for opportunistic cyber criminals to take advantage.”

Some of the major findings from the poll include:

  • Nearly one-third of Americans don’t change their passwords enough – going as long as a year without updating them.
  • More than one-third use public WiFi that doesn’t require a password sometimes or even “always.”
  • 16 percent said that using two-factor authentication (which†requires the user to have two types of credentials before being able to access an account) makes signing on too much of a burden, while another 23 percent didn’t know what two-factor authentication is.
  • 62 percent said they didn’t always check or weren’t sure if their downloaded movies, music, games, or books were legally authorized. Previous Digital Citizens Alliance research has shown this is a widely used delivery mechanism for malware.
  • More than 35 percent of all Americans like/follow/connect with people they barely know or don’t know on social media.†While that can often be with a celebrity or influential figure, in some cases, people might be connecting with someone more interested in your habits than they are in your safety.†

“The 16% of individuals who are indicating that enabling two-factor authentication creates a burden are validating the constant battle between convenience and security,” says Blackfin’s marketing manager, Megan Horner. “It’s our job as a security industry to inform people how simple taking these precautions can be, and of the benefits they’ll see in the long run.”

“These numbers show that Americans need to think a bit more about what they do online and how they go about doing it. Our quiz includes both the poll numbers and short videos from Blackfin that provide explanations to users about why they should take extra steps. Security isn’t easy. Hackers have hit the wealthy, the powerful, and the brilliant. There isn’t a magic bullet, but small steps could deter hackers from hitting you and your computer. This quiz is designed just to get people thinking about what more they can do,” adds Benson.

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