One in four PC users hit by phishing attacks, says AOL

AOL today published the results of a sponsored study that found that 23 percent of US users are targeted in phishing attacks, with 70 percent recipients of scam emails believing they were from legitimate companies. "The AOL/National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Online Safety Study" also claimed that friends or family member of 18 percent of the respondents had already fallen victim to an online identity theft scam.

42 percent of the users were familiar with the term "phishing," and of those, but only 57 percent could accurately define it. The study revealed that 81 percent of home PCs lack at least one of the three critical protections - an updated computer virus software, spyware protection, and a secure firewall. What is not really bad news for AOL, as the company tries to justify its higher-priced online access fees more and more through customized features that promise to protect users from Internet threats.

Last Friday, the company announced its "Safety and Security Center" that offers automatically updated anti-virus software, spyware protection, a firewall, and phishing protection. The software is available to AOL members who are using AOL client software version 8.0 or higher free of charge.