For Safer Internet Day, Microsoft Says ‘Do One Thing’

The technology world celebrated International Safer Internet Day on Monday, but companies large and small hope to see widespread change over the rest of the year. With that in mind, Microsoft is asking consumers to "Do 1 Thing" to stay safer online, and launched a Web site that promotes online safety.

Microsoft.com/saferonline lets Internet users around the world share how they plan to avoid online risks, learn what other people are doing to help protect themselves and receive tips to improve their digital lifestyle.

"The Internet touches our lives every day; we e-mail to stay connected, share photos and videos, pay bills, and shop," said Jacqueline Beauchere, chief online safety officer at Microsoft. "Sometimes, though, the very experiences that we love about the Internet put us at risk."

The Scary Numbers

According to the third annual Microsoft Computing Safety Index survey, the annual worldwide impact of phishing and various forms of identity theft could be as high as $5 billion, with the cost of repairing damage to peoples' online reputation higher yet at nearly $6 billion, or an estimated average of $632 per loss. This means that education and guidance about how to avoid online risks remain key and is why Microsoft is asking people to "Do 1 Thing" today and make it part of their daily digital routine.

Consider these additional statistics: Of the more than 10,000 consumers surveyed, 15 percent said they were victims of a phishing attack, losing on average $158; 13 percent said their professional reputation had been compromised, costing on average $535 to repair; and 9 percent said they had suffered identity theft at an average cost of $218.

Yet despite such losses, only 36 percent said they limit what strangers see on social networks and the amount of personal information online, while 33 percent said they adjust their social...

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