Software updates, unique passwords and two-factor authentication were listed as the top three online security priorities by 231 security experts recently surveyed by Google.
By contrast, 294 web users that were surveyed listed antivirus software, strong passwords and frequent password changes as the top priorities.
Top five priorities
Although the experts considered software updates the number one priority, the survey revealed that online users not only didn’t prioritise software updates, but were seemingly concerned that software updates posed greater risks than having outdated software.
According to the report, a non-expert (online user) said: “I don’t know if updating software is always safe. What [if] you download malicious software?” and “Automatic software updates are not safe in my opinion, since it can be abused to update malicious content.”
Furthermore, although the experts recognised the importance of antivirus software, it appeared that the non-experts had a false sense of security due to an apparent overreliance on antivirus protection solutions.
The report highlighted that fundamental misunderstandings exist about basic online security practices. “Software updates, for example, are the seatbelts of online security; they make you safer, period. And yet, many non-experts not only overlook these as a best practice, but also mistakenly worry that software updates are a security risk.”
Cyber Essentials, the new cyber security certification endorsed by the UK Government, recommends regular patching among the top five controls for achieving basic cyber hygiene.
Find out how to get certified to Cyber Essentials from as little as £300 by downloading the self-assessment questionnaire now.