68% of Americans fear identity theft, according to a survey from nCipher Security. Nearly one in five of the surveys respondents claimed they had been victims of cyberattacks, and 20% of the respondents say that they don’t trust anyone to protect their personal data. Accordingly, 34% of over 1,000 American adults surveyed said that they wanted control of their personal data, according to nCipher’s personal data survey.
In the event of a hack or data breach, the majority of the survey’s respondents called for more accountability. While 38% thought that a company’s chief information security officers should be fired after a hack, 31% believed that only the chief technology officer should be fired. An additional 38% of respondents believed that a hack should be a federal offense resulting in fines or imprisonment to C-level executives.
Peter Galvin, nCipher Security’s Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer, said that there are a few steps consumers can use to protect themselves online. The first is making sure that they have “good password hygiene,” creating a unique username and password for every account. Consumers should also be wary of phishing emails, messages through email or social media that provide a link or ask for personal information. Taking a closer look at links can confirm whether or not it is a legitimate company, for example, yaho0.com instead of yahoo.com.
“Ultimately, the best defense in cybersecurity is a proactive one, and the right mix of hardware, software and internal education provides a firm foundation of protection. Encryption, digital signing and key generation are also increasingly important, as data that is fully encrypted is useless to hackers even if a data breach does occur,”
Even cybersecurity professionals are concerned about cyber attacks, bot traffic in particular. A recent study from Neustar found that 75% of cybersecurity professionals are concerned about leaked company information, despite the fact that they have solutions in place to combat bot traffic. As many large companies have had security breaches in the past year, these fears are not unfounded. Nest customers, for example, had their email addresses and passwords exposed to the web, a result of third-party companies, according to Nest.
Considering the plethora of cyberattacks, many American consumers want data protection under the law. U.S laws could resemble Europe, which protects its citizens’ data under the General Data Protection Regulation. “Adding laws that help protect consumers from criminal activities and give them control over the long term will provide more assurance and will make the Internet a better place,” said Galvin.