Thanks to the ever-growing rise in technological devices, we’re in an era where we are all at a huge risk of data breaches.
We’re more connected to our smart devices than ever before, with millions of us relying on the security of our information being a given. But as more of our information is going online, the risk of data breaches is increasing, and leaks, breaches, and hacks are becoming commonplace.
What is a data breach?
A data breach can include many things. Essentially, a data breach is an incident in which sensitive, protected, or confidential data has potentially been viewed, stolen, or used by an individual who isn’t authorised to do so.
This may mean that someone other than the data controller has had access to the data. But it can also mean that someone within the organisation has accidentally lost the data. The most common causes of data breaches are from hacking, an employee error, and from an email/internet exposure.
Many millions of people have been subject to data breaches over the years, and there are no signs of them slowing down. Data breaches include personal information such as names, addresses, and sensitive information like bank details or medical information.
The rise of data breaches continues to be a worldwide concern. The Breach Level Index shows that more than 5 billion data records have been lost or stolen since 2013. What’s more concerning is the fact that only 4 per cent of breaches were “secure breaches”, i.e. where encryption was used. Where encryption is used, it usually makes it much harder for attackers to exploit the information further.
Are consumers accepting data breaches as the norm?
With data breaches almost becoming the norm in our daily lives, are consumers starting to just accept them?
Some reports show that consumers are not necessarily accepting data breaches, but they have become naïve; believing that it will not happen to them.
There are also proposed arguments that show consumers are suffering from data breach fatigue: a condition where they do nothing to minimise the risk of being a victim of a data breach. According to dataconomy.com, 32 per cent of consumers ignore data breach notices. Even more worryingly, 50 per cent take no action.
However, these statistics may not be actually representative of the action consumers take. From a survey conducted by Experian, it suggested that consumers don’t react to data breach notices because they’ve already taken steps to prevent further data breaches.
Companies and consumers duties
There’s a bigger demand for companies and organisations to do more to prevent data breaches, but at the same time, consumers must protect themselves.
Many consumers demand greater protection, but they aren’t proactive in protecting themselves. Some consumers lack basic security software, and for data breaches – including hacking – some consumers fail to change the same passwords used across multiple online accounts.
That is a crux for further hacking as many cyber-attackers leech onto one set of information to then go on to cause more damage. However, some consumers have the belief that there is no point in being proactive about data protection if companies are lax in their data protection procedures to begin with.
Change in attitude
Therefore, some consumers come to the conclusion that a data breach will happen, and it can’t be prevented. With that attitude, this makes it easier for hackers to gain access and misuse information. But it’s important that consumers and companies remain vigilant in the fight against cyber-attacks. It’s not only time to pump up the cybersecurity, but it’s also time to change the perception of consumers – so they will take the necessary precautions!
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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