Adults feel safer meeting a stranger in person than opening an email attachment.
Research by Webroot on ‘online vs. offline risks' also found that using a computer without security is seen as riskier than leaving your home or car unlocked. The survey of 1,637 internet users aged 18 and above found that 81 per cent of respondents viewed an unknown email attachment as high-risk, but only 72 per cent felt that way about a face-to-face meeting.
It also found that 85 per cent of respondents said that using a computer without security is high-risk, while the same number said that sharing a password is nearly as risky as driving without a seatbelt (87 per cent) or driving without car insurance (88 per cent).
Also, 75 per cent felt that the process of making a credit-card purchase from an unknown website was riskier than sharing personal information over the phone (65 per cent).
Jacques Erasmus, chief information security officer at Webroot, said: “It is encouraging to see that people are aware of the risks posed by online threats. Today's internet users share an increasing amount of personal information online and cyber criminals target security loopholes and careless practices to carry out everything from credit fraud to identity theft.
“Our findings show that people are aware of these risks and savvier about the importance of practising safe online behaviour.”
Meanwhile, 61 per cent of respondents said losing a laptop, tablet or netbook was about the same as – or worse than – having your wallet or purse stolen.