Dangers may lurk in PCs



In findings released Monday by America Online and the National Cyber Security Alliance, a picture emerges of US consumers increasingly using their home PCs for sensitive, online transactions without adequately protecting themselves from cybercrime, USA TODAY reports.

"Most people think they're safe, but they really don't know what's on their computer, and boy, are they vulnerable," says AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein.

While 77% of the survey respondents believed they were safe from online threats, two-thirds lacked current anti-virus software and did not use any firewall protection. More than half said they did not understand the difference between the two.

Yet 84% stored personal data on their home PCs, and 72% routinely used the Internet for sensitive transactions, such as banking and medical data exchanges.

The detailed survey of 329 consumers included inspections of each of their home computers. Technicians found 80% loaded with dozens of spyware programs that track the user's Web-browsing habits and about 1 in 5 computers were infected with at least one computer virus