SOURCE: Cloudmark

August 29, 2007 09:00 ET

Nationwide Survey Shows Substantial Consumer Concern About Phishing Attacks This Year

Many Adults Are Still Engaging in Dangerous Online Behavior That Can Lead to Getting Hooked by Phishing

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - August 29, 2007) - Cloudmark, Inc., the global leader in carrier-grade messaging security, today announced the results of a nationwide poll conducted on its behalf by Harris Interactive®, which revealed that 89 percent of U.S. online adults are equally or more concerned about becoming a phishing victim than they were last year. Phishing attacks are email scams that attempt to defraud consumers of their personal information (e.g., bank account, social security, credit card, etc.) by pretending to have been sent by a trustworthy entity such as a bank or credit lender. Nevertheless, according to the poll, online adults still engage in at least one of the five major activities that often lead to being the victim of a phishing attack. In the past year:

--  Nearly two in five (37 percent) have opened emails from unknown
--  About one in seven (13 percent) have clicked on links in emails from
    unknown senders.
--  More than one in seven (16 percent) have given out personal
    information on a Website when the information was "optional."
--  About one in ten (9 percent) have opened attachments in emails from
    unknown senders.
--  Six percent have responded to emails claiming there was a problem with
    their account; they owe money, they are owed money or have an opportunity
    to make money.

Among those more concerned about phishing attacks, 77 percent said their increased concern is a result of hearing that phishing is a growing problem and almost half (45 percent) are now receiving more phishing emails than they did last year. In addition, 27 percent of those who are more concerned said they cannot tell the difference between legitimate and phishing emails. An alarming 23 percent know of someone who has been a victim of a phishing attack. The survey suggests that phishing is still a major security issue. Although 77 percent of online adults who are now more concerned about phishing say they know that phishing is a growing problem, it appears that consumers are still not clear about what they can and should do to protect themselves.

Further, the majority of online adults indicated that a lot or a moderate amount of responsibility for protecting against phishing attacks lies with both themselves (89 percent) and their service providers (82 percent).

"We were surprised to see that, despite increased consumer awareness about phishing, many are still participating in potentially dangerous online behavior," said Bassam Khan, vice president of marketing, Cloudmark. "It is nearly impossible for consumers to keep up with the large volume and sophistication of today's phishing attacks on their own. Some phishing sites are so realistic that they fool even the savviest Internet user. This survey highlights the growing problem and emphasizes the need for consumers and service providers to be actively involved in protecting themselves and their customers against phishing and other forms of online threats."

Among those who indicated that they are more concerned about phishing attacks, some have actually changed their behavior by decreasing certain online activities. This change can negatively impact online business and transactions: 29 percent only use certain credit cards or accounts when they shop online; 21 percent only pay certain bills online; and 20 percent have decreased the frequency of their online shopping.

There is also a growing concern among consumers of malware other than phishing. For example, consumers are more concerned about viruses (38 percent), spyware (35 percent) and spam (30 percent) than they were last year.

For the top 10 tips on how to avoid malware and protect yourself from dangerous online behavior, please visit

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is the 13th largest and fastest-growing market research firm in the world. The company provides innovative research, insights and strategic advice to help its clients make more confident decisions which lead to measurable and enduring improvements in performance. Harris Interactive is widely known for The Harris Poll, one of the longest running, independent opinion polls and for pioneering online market research methods. The company has built what it believes to be the world's largest panel of survey respondents, the Harris Poll Online. Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its North American, European and Asian offices and through a global network of independent market research firms. More information about Harris Interactive may be obtained at

To become a member of the Harris Poll Online and be invited to participate in online surveys, register at

About Cloudmark

Cloudmark, Inc. is a global leader in carrier-grade messaging security, delivering the industry's fastest, most comprehensive and most accurate real-time spam, virus and phishing protection for fixed and mobile networks. Cloudmark solutions combine highly sophisticated Advanced Message Fingerprinting™ technology based on innovative, high-performance algorithms and a Global Threat Network consisting of trusted reporters in 163 countries to provide security intelligence and filtering at all points in the messaging infrastructure. Cloudmark solutions currently protect more than 180 million mailboxes and more than 80 of the world's largest service provider and mobile operator networks (including seven of the top 10 in North America), such as EarthLink, Comcast, Cablevision, Charter Communications, Cox Communications, NTT Communications, SprintNextel, Virgin Mobile and Swisscom. Cloudmark is a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco with offices in London, Tokyo, Beijing and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit

About the Survey:

The Cloudmark Inc. survey was conducted online within the United States between August 8 and August 10, 2007 among 2,215 U.S. adults ages 18+. Results were weighted as needed for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. The data were also weighted to be representative of the online population of U.S. adults on the basis of Internet usage (hours per week) and connection type.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100 percent response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the online U.S. adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to be invited to participate in the Harris Interactive online research panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Contact Information

  • Media contacts:
    For Cloudmark:
    Payal Cudia or Marisa Dulyachinda
    Schwartz Communications, Inc.
    (415) 512-0770