BY NARINDER PURBA.
The Pew Research Center has found that over half of American citizens have been victims of data breaches in recent years.
The online security survey, released on 26 January this year, revealed that 64% of adults in the US have either reported or were notified of a data breach that had impacted their personal data.
Respondents’ answers highlighted that credit card fraud was the most common form for a data breach to take, with 41% of Americans having fallen victim to it. 35% had experienced their personal data (such as account numbers) being compromised, while 6% found someone else to have impersonated them to file a tax return.
Along with data breaches and threats from cybercriminals, the survey found Americans to lack trust in the federal government and social media platforms when it came to protecting their personal data.
Of the 1,040 adults who took part in the survey, 49% believed their personal data to be less secure than it was five years ago. Older citizens were significantly less trusting.
While data breaches are a growing problem, citizens around the world are not doing enough to protect themselves online.
Despite having a lack of trust in the safety of their personal data, the results showed that the majority of Americans fail to implement extra safety measures themselves.
While experts advise against disclosing a password to a friend or family member for an online account, 41% of participators admitted to having done this.
It was also found that 69% of adults didn’t worry about how secure their online password was – even if they had previously experienced a data breach.
According to the study, neither are Americans prioritizing personal mobile security as they should. 28% of smartphone owners admitted they didn’t have a screen lock set up on their device, while 10% of users have never installed updates on their mobiles.
When it comes to online banking safety, 54% said they have accessed their bank online via an unsecured Wi-Fi network.
Organizations are not doing enough to protect themselves online either, as reported by a study carried out in November 2016.
Both surveys highlight that more needs to be done to educate citizens about staying safe online through adapting simple measures in everyday life.