Zogby Poll: Personal Cybersecurity Needs Work

October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month, Proponents Have Work Ahead

According to a new Zogby online poll, almost a third of Americans don't change their passwords often enough, some going a year without doing so and more than a third at least some of the time use WiFi that is not password protected.

The poll was commissioned by Digital Citizens Alliance and cybersecurity firm Blackfin Security.

And in a finding that won't surprise TV and movie studios constantly battling online intellectual property theft,  62% of respondents said they "didn’t always check or weren’t sure" whether the shows or music or games or books they downloaded were legally authorized. Digital Citizens was making the point that illegal downloads often are the delivery system for malware, but the downloads themselves are also clearly an issue in the content-protection sphere.

According to the poll, many Americans open devices to unknown entities, download files of unknown origin and ignore best practices.

"The hackings of Home Depot, Target, and other large retailers may be lulling Americans into thinking that it’s big corporations that are rogue operators' prime targets, but that's a mistake," said Adam Benson, deputy executive director of the Digital Citizens Alliance of the new data. "Hackers want personal data - credit card numbers, passwords, social security numbers. They'll look for open windows - and the online behavior we see reflected in this survey tells us that millions of Americans are leaving the windows open, the doors unlocked, and even giving some hackers the key to get in."

The poll was on online survey Sept. 9-10. Response was 1,028 U.S. adults, margin of error plus or minus 3.1 percentage points at 95% confidence, meaning the results of 95 out of 100 similar surveys would be within that margin of error.

To take the poll, click here.