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One Third of EU Internet Users Hit by a Computer Virus in 2010

Posted: 08th Feb, 2011 By: MarkJ
europe map digital agendaThe Statistical Office of the European Communities, Eurostat, has revealed that almost one third (31%) of EU people who used the internet last year (from the 27 EU member states) caught a virus on their computer that resulted in the loss of information or time. That's despite 84% of surfers using security software (e.g. anti-virus) for protection, which rises to 88% in the UK.

Some 14% of individuals in the EU27 who used the internet in the last year, and live in a household with children, had parental control or web filtering software installed. This increases to 21% in the UK. Just 5% (4% in the UK) experienced children accessing inappropriate websites or connecting with potentially dangerous persons while using a home computer.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the EC for the Digital Agenda, said:

"It is hard for parents to ensure their children are always safe online, especially as youngsters now access the Internet not just from PCs, but also via smart phones and games consoles. This places greater responsibility on the ICT industry to provide products and services that protect and empower children online.

We have worked productively with social networks and mobile operators. Now we call on the whole chain of ICT industry to work together to do more to safeguard children online."

The statistics, which are designed to coincide with this year's Safer Internet Day 2011 (here) event, also found that 4% (same in the UK) had suffered from an abuse of personal information sent on the internet or other privacy violations. Furthermore 3% (7% UK) of internet users in the EU27 were hit by financial loss due to phishing or pharming attacks or fraudulent payment card abuse.

The EU also recently revealed that more than half of 13-16 year olds are accessing the Internet in their bedroom and 59% of 9-16 year olds have a social networking profile; 26% of them have completely "public" profiles, ranging from 11% in the UK to a high of 54% in Hungary. Worryingly 14% of children use related profiles to post their address and phone number details.
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