Microsoft Releases New Index Gauging Online Behaviors

Microsoft’s Trustworthy Computing (TwC) Group is today announcing a new tool to help gauge how consumers are meeting the challenges of today’s digital world. Microsoft’s Computing Safety Index (MCSI) is the product of research recently conducted in five countries: Brazil, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the U.S. It examines people’s behaviors relating to online safety, resulting in an overall score.

Broken out into three tiers of scoring levels, the 2011 average score for this benchmark study across all five geographies was 34 out of a possible 100. This year’s U.S. Index was 37, which lands in the mid-scoring range of 20-79 scores, suggesting that people have the online-safety basics covered, but opportunities exist to learn and do more, particularly against new and emerging risks in the social realm. (Specific results for the other four countries will be released to coincide with international Safer Internet Day 2012 in early February.)

The MCSI seeks to understand consumer adoption of proven online tools and behaviors. It is a weighted score comprised of three tiers of activity – “Foundational,” “Technical+,” and “Behavioral” – each consisting of different steps consumers can take to help protect themselves and their families when they go online. The more steps taken in any given tier, the higher the user’s score.

Didn’t participate in the formal survey? We’ve created an abbreviated version so others can see how they measure up. Go to www.microsoft.com/security/mcsi; take stock of your personal online habits and practices, and see how you compare to the five-country average and the U.S. score.

Finally, in our ongoing effort to raise public awareness of online safety and to encourage everyone to become better “digital citizens,” we are releasing a new collection of tools and resources. Our “Digital Citizenship in Action: A Guide to Education and Events” toolkit is available free of charge, and includes a host of resources to help individuals, families, and organizations stay safer and more secure online.

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) in the U.S. – the perfect time to pledge to get smarter on these issues. Then, take that extra step and teach a friend, young person, club, or group what you’ve learned. Microsoft plans to release the multi-country and U.S. indices annually to coincide with NCSAM.

Click these links to learn more:

· Microsoft’s Computing Safety Index: Five Countries

· Microsoft’s Computing Safety Index: U.S.

· Microsoft’s Safety & Security Center, a wealth of information about security and online safety issues

· STOP. THINK. CONNECT., a simple, action-oriented reminder for all of us to stay safer and more secure online

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About the Author

Chief Online Safety Officer, Microsoft

Jacqueline F. Beauchere is the Chief Online Safety Officer at Microsoft. In this role, Ms. Beauchere is responsible for all aspects of Microsoft’s online safety strategy, including cross-company policy creation and implementation, influence over consumer safety features and functionality and communications to and engagement with a variety of external audiences. She also currently serves as the vice chair for the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) Board of Directors. Ms. Beauchere has spent almost 14 years at Microsoft leading various groups and efforts that evangelize the company's commitment to help create a safer, more trusted Internet experience for people of all ages and abilities. Before joining Microsoft in December 1999, Ms. Beauchere was an attorney in private practice in New Jersey, New York and Washington, D.C. A second-career lawyer, she spent 12 years as a real-time financial news correspondent and Editor in Charge, most recently with Reuters America Inc. in New York.