Do you suffer from Internet shopping paranoia, or perhaps a mild phobia of the perils of inputting personal data?

Do you suffer from Internet shopping paranoia, or perhaps a mild phobia of the perils of inputting your personal data? If that sounds like you, then you?re most definitely not alone, according to the latest study by NOP.

In a study of 999 adults commissioned by Enterasys Networks, NOP found that the public has a deep distrust of using the Internet to shop online. Just half of the UK population have ever shopped online and 43% of us are putting off shopping or banking online because of security concerns.

The survey revealed that e-commerce still has a long way to go to earn the trust of the public. It showed that more men than women have bought something over the Internet (54% versus 47%) and that the younger we are the more confident that our information will remain confidential. The 16-24 year age group are most confident, with 84% professing to be happy with security compared to just 54% of the 65+ age group. The profile of the active e-shopper is typically a married ?thirty-something?, working full-time and living in London or the South of England.

Our confidence levels in government agencies such as the local council is also worryingly low, with just 27% of the population scoring their security measures at one or two on a scale of five. Banks, on the other hand, can be a little more confident with 57% of us awarding them a four or five out of five for security.

Our degree of suspicion extends to our own employers, with only 35% feeling very confident in our employer?s ability to keep confidential records secure.

Mark Pearce, a security specialist at Enterasys Networks, which provides secure networks to enterprises and government bodies, says: ?What this shows is that we have only really touched the tip of the iceberg in terms of the potential of online purchases. If companies can convince some of the e-commerce virgins to take the plunge, as well as build greater confidence amongst those who are occasional cyber-shoppers there is still a huge amount of untapped business for those companies who can address and convince customers that their information is in safe hands. The best way for businesses that want to increase their online sales is to ensure that their network is highly secure and get that word out to customers via their Web site.?