by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
men, security, women

Men Overconfident About How Secure They Are Online

from the the-internet-is-no-place-to-pretend dept

This probably won't come as much of a surprise, but a new study shows that guys are much more likely than women to overestimate how secure their computers really are. The truth, however, is that both men and women are usually equally vulnerable. Of course, the study was paid for by a security company, so you might want to take it with a grain of salt. For example, while it talks about vulnerabilities, it doesn't seem to say who is actually getting infected with malware more often.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Haywood, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    I take chances

    It is a guy thing. I know how to lock one down pretty tight, but at a performance penalty. I also know how to save, or if necessary get it back up to speed after a meltdown fairly quickly. If I were someone who was dependent on others to fix my problems, I'd likely be more careful.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:12am

    Malware idea

    Maybe they could install malware that senses testosterone and estrogen.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    I wonder how, in real life, they can tell who administrates the PC or the group of PCs at an address.

    This brings whole new meaning to "I Pee address".

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:20am

    Not too worried...

    I take chances online, just like I take a chance every time I introduce myself to a stranger in the real world. Since I work in the computer field, I don't worry so much about infectious code as I do about ID theft. Code is code, but crazy people are everywhere. I'm more concerned about a meth head breaking into my house than I am about a crazed myspace friend tracking me down.

    From personal experiences, I have noticed that teenagers and women are the primary demographics for virus and malware infections, simply because of the sites they visit and their average knowledge of computers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Liquid, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:29am

    Personal Network Security

    Well. I can see why the statement "Men Overconfident About How Secure They Are Online" was used. It is true to point. Men are the most likely of both sexes to take risks. Men will see something on TV (usually the news at which it is always blown out of proportion) or read something online about "hacker" (term should be cracker look it up), and rush off to do exactly what the new anchor and/or news paper columnist suggests. Where women will usually look into things at little bit, but when they see that they have been looking for they will use it (i.e. the "dose your PC have worms commercial with the chick with the russian accent). When both sexes should be going to online security forums and reading up on how to Properly secure their network. Get a little more educated on doing so instead of the 2min blip on the 5am news cast or the glims on CNN while they are surfing the channels. News reporters, and TV commercials are never something to use when it comes to security. This comes with a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in Information Systems Security when I say whats been reported on the news has already happened. Use the security bulletin's from sites you know you can trust like Microsoft, McAfee, Symantic Nortan, etc... these places will have a more in depth descriptions on whats going on, and ways that you can protect your self.

    Just remember the only safe computer is the one with out a network connection, and you don't use.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    dorpus, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:38am

    Hidden Security?

    This is not really related to the article, but I have a question. When I access a web site from work (at a university medical center), I am able to get free downloads of data from a government web site, without logging in or anything. When I access the same place from home, it demands $70 for the same data. Do university computers have some sort of hidden privilege when accessing government web sites?

    The site in question is

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Liquid, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:42am

    Re: Not too worried...

    I would say just about everyone that has limited knowledge of computer network systems. Not just women and teenagers just because of the sites that they visit.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Liquid, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:46am

    Re: Hidden Security?

    Probably not. It's probably something that the university set up. You could ask your local IT Admin about it, and see what they say. They should the most knowledgeable about how its set up.

    Since this is something that is probably going to deal with HIPA regulations since this is a medical facility that you are talking about. They probably don't want you accessing that information that easily or at all from your home PC.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Joe Bob B, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    NOAA info

    See this link on the NOAA data. Some is Free to everyone, some not free, info is linked to IP address. .gov, .edu,.k12, etc get free access. Redistribution has limits too. Watch what you take home, Big Brother WILL be watching you.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    JustMe, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:09am

    According to the CIA...
    The only safe computer is one that is not plugged into an electrical outlet and is in a secure room by itself.

    There is a command you can send to a computer power supply thru the electrical outlet to have it turn on the computer.

    So the next time you are at a yard sale and see a computer for sale sitting on a picnic table you are looking at the worlds most secure computer! (as long as it is not plugged into the power grid).

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    weed head, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:24am


    I have been yelling at my electrical outlet all different commands all morning and the computer will not turn. Can you tell my the command you use, I can't find it anygoogle.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. icon
    Steve R. (profile), Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Just "proving" the obvious

    This seems to be another fanciful "study" that "documents" a known difference in attitude between men and woman. A few years ago a woman's group released a "study" "documenting" that women at college were under a lot more stress then men.

    Dr. Laura speaking on this attitude difference simply stated that, given any situation, men don't worry about details as much as woman. So on the issue of computers and security, men are "confident" that they know what they are doing and are simply not as worried. Delusions are wonderful!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    i tend to think malaware / trojans / virusus, spam, cookies, add's banners etc. its a been there done that.. learning curve,
    seems to me that just about every piece of hardware connected to the network has.. one option you didnt know about.
    How loose or tight u run your security depends on what u do with your computer or files,

    first lesson you cant F*^* it up if it's off !

    My Point: Survey 100 men ask them what they did for an hour on ther computer... and your have 900 hours of porn & 100 hours of i tried to speed up my computer so i could get porn Faster...

    Survey 100 women an you'd get... 900 hours of my e-mails not working right... and 100 hrs of honey can u fix it..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14. identicon
    OMG this thread is wack, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 9:48am

    Re: Paranoid Ass Article

    Let's face it, if you go to a site with malicious content, you are screwed. Guys masturbate. Put some porn on a site, add malicious code and viola, guys get more malware/viruses, etc. The simple fact of the matter is this..... People would have to be insanely bored to hack your computer, and if someone is that bored, let them. They can sift through all of the garbage on my home pc if they so choose, why? Because I am smart and I know that this is mainly propaganda. Don't be fooled. :) As long as you are not stupid, you should be just fine. My machine is on the DMZ with no firewall, and always has been. I do not use antivirus that constantly is running in the background because it is just simply garbage. If you need to run a scan, run it, but don't leave that garbage running in the background. It's a waste of time. Most sites that have confidential information use HTTPS, and if someone is going to try and hack something, it owuld be the company withh the website, not the king masturbater sitting there checking his bank statement. Hackers are smart, but like serial killers, are few and far between. Don't install a virus, don't be dumb. There are no "free" ipods. It's just that simple...

    A Network Engineer in SA.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15. identicon
    4-80-sicks, Jan 30th, 2008 @ 10:39am

    Re: Re: Paranoid Ass Article

    ...but don't leave that garbage running in the background...

    If that works for you, that's fine, but please don't tell others to do the same. Everyone may not be as "smart" as you are. And identity theft is indeed a real thing that happens, whether you believe it or not.

    I run antivirus. It's nice and light (they're not all bloated garbage like Norton, et al) and barely affects my computer. Fortunately I have never needed it, never encountered malware "in the wild" so to speak, but who knows, some day I might.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2008 @ 6:25pm

    Moving this discussion back to the article....

    I work in the computer security field. I deal with banks, department stores, government agencies, etc.. I can tell you with a completely clear conscious that both men and women are JUST as likely to get malware, viruses, crackers, and whatever else. The only reason men are more likely to receive this content is not because they surf different places(I know plenty of women who look at porn just as much or more than men) the real issue is currently there are more men online than women. Don't call me sexist because women are catching up but currently there are more men. I meet men and women alike as network administrators that don't know anything about network security, but at the same time my direct supervisor is a woman and she is very knowledgeable, she is also 1 of 3 females working in this office and we have a lot of employees. So face the facts... Statistics are Biased. and dont average before they compare.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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