Consumer Reports survey: How safe is your home computer?

Consumer Reports

View photo


Consumers' home PCs were no safer than they were last year, our annual State of the Net survey found. Heavy spam afflicted 43 percent of those surveyed. We've used our survey to extrapolate the number of consumers affected nationally.

Trouble on Facebook: 9.8 million adult Facebook users had their account used by an unauthorized person; had their reputation harmed; or were harassed, threatened, or defrauded. Also, several hundred thousand minors were bullied on Facebook, and at least 3.7 million preteenagers violated its terms of service by actively using the social network.

Malware problems: 58.2 million online users experienced a malware infection that affected their computer's features or performance. The bill to fix the damages: $3.9 billion.

Stealthy Facebook users: 28.5 million Facebook users altered personal information in their profile to protect their privacy. Birth dates and names were the biggest fakes.

"Phishing" schemes: 9.2 million consumers were tricked into submitting personal data to criminal websites that appear to be well-known companies' sites. Hundreds of thousands lost money from a bank account as a result. Among the big-name companies whose names successful phishers used most often: Bank of America, Chase, Facebook, PayPal, and Visa.

See more of our survey findings along with our infographic, "How well do you protect your information?", and our interactive quiz: "Would you download this app?" in our story, "Keep your phone safe: How to protect yourself from wireless threats." And for many more tips on keeping safe and private online, visit our Guide to Internet Security.

More from Consumer Reports:
Top rated TVs, cell phones and other electronics
Best and worst products for your home
Expert, unbiased ratings and reviews

Consumer Reports has no relationship with any advertisers or sponsors on this website. Copyright © 2007-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.

View Comments (3)