Christmas Bargains Prioritised Over Web Security For Online Shoppers

Security Outfit Websense Inc. announced the results of its first European study of online Christmas shopping behaviour. The survey found that whilst 75% of online Christmas shoppers were not totally confident about being able to identify a secure Web site, only one in four considered keeping their credit card and online banking information safe and secure as their greatest concern.

In fact, the e-shoppers' biggest worry of all (39%) was whether their gifts would actually arrive on time. The Websense survey, conducted by Dynamic Markets surveyed a total of more than 1000 respondents from the three major shopping capitals of Europe - London, Paris and Milan.

A total of 36% of respondents across the region considered Internet bargain-hunting to be the overriding factor in deciding which Web site to make their online purchase. Of the e-shoppers surveyed, 35% admitted to not always checking for the security padlock, with almost one fifth (18%) of these being unaware of what to look for.

More women (80%) than men (70%) were not totally confident in spotting a secure Web site from an unsecured one. A further 17% were totally oblivious to current security threats, believing Christmas shopping online is safe and secure and that they would not worry about it. Interestingly, only 30% of those who shop freely trust their anti-virus software to protect their personal and banking details.

In fact, 83% of those surveyed used both their work PC as well as their home computer, with a third doing their shopping at work. The research also established that 54% of bargain hunters in the workplace had neglected to ask their IT department if their PC was protected.

"Online shopping at Christmas is a balancing act for consumers," said Mark Murtagh, EMEA Technical Director at Websense. "This is a time of year where people are so busy that they can overlook potential web security risks in the hunt for the perfect bargain. Traditionally, we see a jump in Web sites hosting malicious code in the weeks leading up to major events as cyber-criminals look to exploit the increased number of online shoppers that have their credit cards at the ready. We've seen a number of new and more sophisticated deceptions emerge throughout this year and users need to educate themselves to look out for potential security pitfalls."