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Caught in the Net: A Survey of Phoenix Area Residents 40+ about Online Use and Safety

Among Phoenix area residents age 40+ who access the Internet and use email, almost half say they have received a phishing email (46%), an email containing spyware (49%), or a worm/virus email (42%), according to this report of a recent AARP telephone survey of 500 Metropolitan Phoenix residents.

Of those surveyed...

  • Eight in ten own a computer or laptop (80%) and access the Internet (79%), and nearly six in ten access the Internet at least once a day (58%).

Among the Internet and email users surveyed...

  • Most are concerned about providing personal information over the Internet, with three-quarters being extremely (42%) or very concerned (32%) and nearly another quarter who are somewhat concerned (23%).
  • Three-quarters (78%) are unaware that when a website has a privacy policy it does not prevent them from sharing customers' personal information with others.
  • Four in ten (40%) dramatically underestimate the rate of attacks at 50 or less per hour, and almost half (45%) say they don't know. (According to computer security experts, if you're connected to the Internet, your computer is attacked approximately three hundred times per hour by spyware, viruses and other unwanted software.)
  • Most say they have installed on their computers anti-virus protection software (94%), set up filters or firewalls (84%), and installed anti-spyware software (83%). Most have avoided giving out their email address (86%) or posting it on websites (80%).

Alan Newman Research, Inc. conducted this telephone survey for AARP between August 4 and August 14, 2006. For more information, contact the author of this report, Jennifer Sauer, at 202-434-6207. (27 pages)

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