Modern technology gives us many things.

Social butterflies being stung by online threats

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socialbutterflythreatThe number of social butterflies online is growing but an alarming percentage is falling victim to an online threat, according to new research by Trend Micro.

With many users spending more time on Facebook, Twitter and other social media destinations, their online behaviour has exposed them to a number of online risks.

According to internet security company Trend Micro, 60 per cent have fallen victim to an online threat with 66 per cent assuming they were not at risk.

Of the more than 1000 Australians interviewed for this study, 23 per cent say they have purchased something online that didn’t arrive and 15 per cent clicked on a link that posted content on their Facebook page without their permission.

One in 10 have had their social network hacked and 10 per cent has clicked on a link that was malicious and harmed their computer or documents.

The most avid social media users normally have a lot of friends with 37 per cent engaging on Facebook more than once a day.

Of these users, 29 per cent regularly download or stream content from paid, unpaid and free sites two or three times a week while 25 per cent shop online two to three times a week.

“Australians’ forward-thinking approach to technology and our generally trusting and easy going nature make us prime targets for cyber criminals,” says Trend Micro’s Greg Boyle.

“With one of the highest levels of smartphone penetrations in the world, Australians are connected no matter where we are.

“While this offers great convenience and a choice in areas such as shopping, it also brings a number of dangers with it too.

“It’s important for people to recognize the risks and take some simple steps to protect themselves regardless of the device they are using.”

There are a number of ways to protect yourself. Here are Trend Micro’s suggestions for staying safe online.

* Don’t shop online or do your banking inside an unsecured network or in public hotspots. Cyber criminals can hijack your shopping session and upload malicious files to your device.

* Bookmark your favourite sites instead of searching for them. Cyber criminals prey on victims who mistype names of popular online destinations to lead you to spoof sites that serve malicious files.

* Don’t click on suspicious links no matter how enticing they sound. They are made to look enticing to trick you into opening them.

* Don’t share personal information online and on social networks.

* Make sure your security software is up to date. Trend Micro’s Maximum Security software can protect up to five devices from viruses, spyware and spam.

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