Trend Micro Incorporated , a leader in network antivirus and Internet content security software and services, today announced the results of its second Internet Confidence and Safety Survey which is carried out twice a year and provides an overall measurement of consumers’ confidence and perceived safety of the Internet.

According to the survey, users who felt confident when using the Internet increased from a confidence index of 39.0 to an index of 39.9. However, while the overall confidence score had increased, consumers in the US and France indicated that their confidence had dropped from an index of 44.4 and 41.1 respectively in August to 43.8 and 39 in February. The increase in confidence was led by the UK, Germany and Japan, each of which demonstrated an increase. Of these, the UK showed the most notable increase in confidence, from 42.2 in August to 46 in February. The index comprises a complex calculation based upon a proprietary collection of confidence and behavior ratings.

The survey also found that a vast majority of consumers still use credit cards to make purchases over the Internet and bank online. Worryingly, these results indicate that in spite of the increasing governmental and media attention given to cyber attacks such as identity theft and fraud, consumers are still growing more confident about their online safety. With the growth of web threats and the technologically sophisticated tools malware creators have at their disposal, consumers need to demonstrate a high level of caution when spending time online.

Other noteworthy findings, from the countries and issues section of the February 2007 Internet Confidence and Safety survey include:

— Less than half (45 percent) of the U.S. respondents feel very safe
when using Internet today; a drop of 6 percent from August 2006 to
February 2007. Similarly, the percentage of U.S. respondents who
believe the Internet will be much safer in the next 6 months also
dropped by 6 percent from 32 percent in August 2006 to 26 percent in
February 2007. Correspondingly, from August 2006 to February 2007,
significantly fewer U.S. respondents participated in risky online
behavior, such as online banking, using credit cards to make
purchases over the Internet, downloading freeware/shareware and
using public hotspots for Wi-fi access.

— In the United Kingdom, the percentage of respondents who reported
infection of malware on their computers in the past 6 months dropped
dramatically by 12 percent from 43 percent in August 2006 to 31
percent in February 2007. Meanwhile, only 17 percent of the
Japanese respondents reported that their computers had been infected
by malware over the past 6 months; a decrease of 6 percent from
August 2006.

“As a security vendor, it’s our job to stay one step ahead of malware such as Web threats to ensure the protection of customers’ on-the-go lifestyles,” said Lane Bess, general manager of Trend Micro consumer products and services. “Trend Micro has recently introduced new products and services to enable customers to take a more proactive approach to their Internet security and allow us to extend communications to customers that help them know how secure they truly are.

Compiled during February 2007, the Trend Micro Internet Confidence and Safety survey is a unique report that takes place at regular six monthly intervals, surveying 1500 consumers from 5 countries based in 3 different continents. The 5 countries in which the research took place were Japan, the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France.

Trend Micro’s Internet Confidence and Safety survey analyzes consumer perception based on a number of indicators such as how safe and confident consumers feel when using the Internet, their view regarding the future safety of the Internet, how many consumers have experienced actual infections during the past six months, their confidence in their security software and an analysis of their online internet activities. Additionally the research includes a measure of consumer perception around security related to mobile phone Internet usage.

As the survey is regularly compiled, it is expected to act as a continual barometer for consumers’ attitudes and perceptions about their personal security as well as the overall security of the Internet.