Cybersecurity and privacy breaches have become some of the hottest topics in our society. Technology and the Internet are always present in our lives, being channels of communication for some of our most private and sensitive information.
The vast majority of Internet users are currently giving it an irresponsible use, providing information that they probably shouldn’t for their own sake. Users are constantly sharing personally identifiable information (PII) without even considering the implications of their actions.
Things are changing, though. Data breaches scandals during recent years led to greater consciousness regarding how we operate and how we use our own PII online. It seems we have moved from absolute naivety and neglect, passed through desperation and fear, only to finally land on a place of apathy regarding our privacy online.
With this in mind, 4iQ conducted a study to determine the current state of affairs regarding public perception on privacy, breaches, and overall cybersecurity around their PII. Such conclusions are valuable to determine in which stage we are as a society in our fight against corporations and public institutions when it comes to protecting our personal information.
What does Survey Show?
Survey data comes from a study conducted by 4iQ named “Identity Protection & Data Breach Survey”. As the name suggests, it focuses on breaches and identity protection, trying to determine how people feel about how their data is being handled these days.
According to the survey, 44 percent of Americans believe that their PII has been stolen at one point or another. On the other hand, 37 percent of Americans believe that they have been victims of fraud online, even those who aren’t absolutely sure or don’t have any hard evidence about it.
Finally, 63 percent of Americans believe that data breaches that have taken place in the past will lead, as a result, to an identity fraud involving them at some point in the future.
Public and Private
The survey also addressed a very important topic for our society right now: how the public and private sector handle personal data. Perception regarding how private organizations use and protect PII and how the government does it differs significantly.
People who joined the study expressed that they aren’t confident enough in the government’s capabilities to protect their PII. 75 percent of Americans believe that their employers are (at the very least) effective in protecting their data while only 42 percent felt the same way regarding the government’s effectiveness in the same context.
Data breaches in the public sector have been more frequent in the last few years, creating this conception of governmental institutions that aren’t capable of having solid cybersecurity mechanisms to protect citizens’ information. One reason for this may be that the public sector invests limited resources in cybersecurity, creating important liabilities down the road.
Lack of Readiness
As always, lack of proper education in cybersecurity is one of the biggest reasons why we are having these problems. Only 15 percent of the respondents consider themselves capable of facing the threats online. Proper training, especially in corporate, is paramount to prevent negative situations. Employers should watch their own backs by investing in cybersecurity training for their employees, many of which have broad access to the company’s systems and networks.
This low percentage when it comes to readiness in cybersecurity shows that people aren’t exclusively blaming companies and the government for the privacy issues we are experiencing today but also taking part of the responsibility.
A kind of apathy regarding breaches, identity fraud, and limited privacy online is also a problem that is leading more Internet users to operate with neglect. Most users only make important changes in how they operate only after they fall as victims of cybercrime.