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RISMEDIA, February 10, 2010—According to a new poll by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec, website security plays a major part in consumers’ purchasing decisions. The poll, conducted by Zogby International, of more than 3,500 Americans found that online retailers will lose sales if consumers have concerns about a site’s security.

According to the poll, more than 63% of respondents reported that they did not complete a website purchase because of security concerns. Of those that did not make a purchase due to security concerns, several reasons were given (note: respondents were able to select more than one reason) including:

-41% said the site requested more information than necessary for the transaction

-46% were worried about providing the information requested

-32% said it wasn’t clear about how the site would use personal information

-62% simply were not sure the site was secure

In the online world where speed and convenience are measured in milliseconds, some online retailers have voiced concerns that adding layers of security on their sites would repel purchasers. Yet, the NCSA poll found that Americans are willing to endure additional safeguards in order to protect their personal information. Just over 75% of those polled said their likeliness to use a service or make a purchase would not be affected if a website required an additional process to verify identity above and beyond the basic username and password.

“Americans are extremely focused on protecting their personal information and their identities,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA. “Skepticism is a front-line defense and it is heartening to see that Americans are actively engaged in making critical decisions when shopping online. This poll should alert online retailers that there is direct relationship between security and revenue.”

The NCSA recommends that Americans employ a small handful of simple behaviors to ensure safe and successful online shopping:

Update Core Protections: Take a few minutes to update your core protections- anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall- before you get on the information superhighway. Also make certain they are set to automatically update against new threats.

Shop Secure Sites: Is there a closed padlock on the browser’s status bar? Does the website’s address (URL) change to shttp or https when you are asked to provide payment information? If so, you know the vendor has secured their payment process.

Check Sellers Out: Conduct independent research on a seller’s reputation before you buy from a seller you have never done business with.

Passwords Are Key: Create long, unique passwords incorporating symbols and numbers to increase your security against hackers and others trying to access online accounts.

Always Ask WWW: When providing personal information for any purchase, always ensure that you know who is asking for the information, what information they are asking for and why they need it.

Not All Money is Created Equal: Credit cards are generally the safest option when shopping online because shoppers can seek a credit from the issuer of the card if the item isn’t delivered or not what was ordered.

For more information, visit www.staysafeonline.org.

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