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BizReport : Internet : January 16, 2013

Number of compromised online accounts surprises Google security researcher

When a Google security researcher Elie Bursztein set up a survey to find out how many U.S. Internet users had had an online account compromised he was surprised at how many had been affected.

by Helen Leggatt

elie bursztein.jpegElie Bursztein is a researcher at Google where he works on fixing Internet security and privacy problems.

He recently surveyed 10,406 people in the U.S. to see how often Internet users lose exclusive access to their accounts.

He found that 18.4% had had at least one online account compromised, including email, social network, banking, and online gaming. In his own words, "This is a much higher percentage than I imagined and it emphasizes how pervasive account compromises are."

While no correlation was found with gender and likelihood of compromised security, Bursztein did find some interesting statistics with income. His findings revealed that the higher a person's income, the less likely their chance of having an account compromised.

Just over 13% of those in the income bracket $0 - $24,999 had experienced a compromised account, compared with just 5.2% of those in the $100,000 - $149,999 range.

Bursztein offers some advice to aid online account security.

"Although there are a lot of things you can do to protect your online accounts, in my experience one of the best strategies to help keep the accounts you care about secure is to provide the online service with your phone number for extra verification purposes," he writes on his blog. "This extra piece of information can be used to deter fraudulent logins but enabling the online service to send a text message with a verification code to your cell phone when they detect a suspicious or unusual activity."

Tags: Google, online accounts, online security, security

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