Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Australians Gambling With Dangerous Websites?, by Greg Tingle - 13th September 2010

Australians tend to believe that all websites and website portals carry an equal security risk, be it gambling, sex - adult, news, mobile games and ringtones, entertainment or other content. Media Man and Gambling911 play Superman and Clark Kent with this special report... just the way you like it...

It's a subject some news media and new media companies try to sidestep at times... just how safe or dangerous is the internet, and how do gambling and adult websites fit into the landscape.

The majority of the loyal readership would be aware that both Media Man and Gambling911 are well established media website portals that cover news, sports, gaming, gambling, entertainment and more.

We've learned that approximately 13% see gambling websites as most dangerous.

A recent survey of computer users has found that 1 in 3 believe that all websites pose a security threat!

Quizzed 'Where do you suspect is the greatest danger of malware infection on the internet', 34% said that when it comes to security, all websites are equally dangerous.

Websites that offer illegal software were deemed to be dangerous to 27%, 22% believed that visitors to adult sites are exposed to dangers, while 13% saw online gambling sites as the most treacherous. Only 4% per cent believed that big website portals (like Media Man, Google, Yahoo, NineMSN, Wikipedia) are particularly vulnerable due to their massive popularity.

Sorin Mustaca, data security expert at Avira, who kindly conducted the said survey, said "On one hand, it's encouraging to see that over 33% of our user base has learned that security threats can come from any website, but it's also a statement on our society at large when 1 out of every 3 people can't trust any of the websites they visit."

Carl Leonard, senior threat research manager at Websense, believes that the results underline the fact that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the risks when browsing the internet.

He said "While 34% is a positive increase in awareness, it clearly shows that two-thirds of users still lack awareness of online security threats. Businesses are also suffering from the same problem and many do not adequately protect themselves online.

"Threats can come from anywhere: cyber criminals are known to target Web 2.0 websites, the most popular 100 websites, legitimate business websites and brand new sites; and they specifically look for places to host zero-day attacks. Today's sophisticated threats are increasingly blended attacks which hit all these channels and if a business has not got the right protection it can be hugely damaging."

Christopher Boyd, senior threat researcher at GFI Labs, said "Personally I'd be more worried by browser games and social networking applications than pornographic websites - adult entertainment websites realised a long time ago that they won't maximise their profits while peddling infections and malicious code hijacks. In contrast, so many applications are untested and unverified by the platforms they operate on that spam, malicious links and compromised profiles are increasingly the order of the day. Warez sites can be lethal, as the code you're downloading could contain absolutely anything."

Matthew Bruun, security expert at VeriSign, said "It's great to see that consumers are thinking about their online security, but as long as users are prudent and cautious when they are operating online there is no need to distrust every website. In order to get the best from the web, consumers need to know what to look for so that they can make the best judgement on whether or not to give a site their custom. Always look for visible security cues such as trust marks, or the green address bar, to guarantee that the website is authentic and online transactions are being secured.

"It's these security factors, and not the type of website, that indicate to consumers which sites are safe to deal with. Conversely, if a site looks poorly built, has a strange URL address and contains lots of spelling or typographical errors, the user is right to be nervous."

A Media Man spokesperson said "For reasons stated in this report we are very mindful of who and what we associated ourselves with. As a world leading internet portal we need to be. We have every confidence in our friends at internet giants, Google, Gambling911, PartyGaming, Wikipedia, Virgin Games, Virgin, Playtech and Microgaming. Based on our decade in media publishing we have found Google to be a much safer company and website portal than Yahoo! and the Microsoft suite, but that's based off our own experience and the feedback we have been sent in. For gaming and gambling PartyGaming and Virgin are our current top picks, and we offer detailed reviews on them to help boost consumer confidence. Tech news sites such as CNet and ZDNet are also excellent sources to get tech and web reviews. Ourselves and Gambling911 have developed quite in a niche in gaming, gambling and sports betting, and only deal with the best and most trusted company brands. We recommend that website visitors minimize risks when possible and dealing with big firms with positive reviews is a great way to do this".

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Wrap Up...

Readers... have you visited any dangerous websites or websites lately? What's more dangerous... gambling websites, porn websites or Australian government 'Big Brother' websites, or are they equal? Tell us in the forum.

When visiting a website or website portal be on the look out for any suspicious pop ups, adverts or any other elements that look like trouble. If betting, bet with your head, not over it, and have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming.

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