The report, commissioned by internet security vendor AVG, was designed to provide an understanding of the differing behaviours and attitudes between women and men when it comes to cybertheft. The research was carried out online by between 11-17 October 2007 amongst a nationally representative sample of 1403 UK adults aged 16+ comprising 926 women and 477 men.

The survey unearthed some marked differences between the men and women in the way they respond to the risk of cyber theft:


– Tend to believe they have cyber theft protection under control (only 4 percent are unsure what protection their computer has)

– Even so 1-in-5 say they have experienced fraudulent emails and one-in-three have experienced some form of cybercrime

– Of those affected by cybercrime, only 18 percent change their internet usage habits

– One in five men say they would feel stupid about being a victim of Cyber Theft

– Forty percent of men feel more should be done to make people aware of how to avoid Cyber Theft – right now you have to go looking for the information


– Tend to be more cautious about the level of cyber protection they have

– Yet they continue to shop and do their banking over the internet as much as the men do

– One marked area of difference is gambling over the Web – predominately a male pastime with almost 30 percent admitting to gambling in this way

“Since instances of cyber theft are about the same for both sexes it shows that women need to familiarize themselves more with internet security so that they can use the Web with greater confidence,” said Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at AVG. “Men on the other hand need to be less macho and think twice about whether they have really done enough to protect themselves – especially when it comes to the amount of personal information they supply when making purchases and financial transactions online.”

AVG urges everyone to follow safe Internet practices:

– Never use an unfamiliar PC or laptop for transactions of a personal nature

– Only use industry-recognised Internet payment systems and always check for the padlock symbol on the screen.

– Be aware that email clients and web browsers, because they are widely used for communication, are more susceptible to threats than other applications unless used in conjunction with effective and up-to-date security protection

– Be suspicious of email from people you do not know, and never open or save attachments unless you know and trust the sender.

– Install, use, and keep updated comprehensive internet security measures, including anti-virus, anti-spyware, firewall, and anti-exploit.