Twenty-six percent of Americans have been told their personal information such as password or credit card number may have been exposed by a data breach, a survey showed Monday.
The survey by the security firm McAfee and the National Cyber Security Alliance also found disparities between Americans' concerns and their practices in warding off attacks.
It found 90 percent of Americans agree that a safe and secure Internet is crucial to economic security and the same number do not feel completely safe from viruses, malware and hackers while on the Internet.
But 64 percent percent of those surveyed said they have never any installed security software or apps to protect against viruses or malware.
The survey found 49 percent of smartphone users have used their device to access the Internet, but 58 percent have not backed up their data.
NCSA, a non-profit public-private partnership, unveiled the survey to kick off the ninth annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month.
"The threat to the safety of Americans online is growing every day and, as the survey shows, the fear of Americans has also grown to 90 percent," said Gary Davis, vice president of global consumer marketing at McAfee.
"It is our responsibility to make sure that consumers are aware of these growing threats, so they can be best prepared to defend themselves against these hidden criminals."
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