Could security breaches cost lives?

Over a quarter of companies believe that if their sites go down or they suffer a major security breach it could potentially cost customers’ their lives, according to AlienVault.

When asked who they most feared would violate their privacy, the answer was overwhelmingly the Chinese, with 40% of respondents admitting this was the country that worried them the most.

The U.S. government and Russians tied at 13%; and the UK government trailed slightly at 12%. Aliens and Israeli’s came out at 4% each. Just 5% felt confident enough to claim they were not worried about anyone violating their privacy.

While the alien response might be considered tongue in cheek, the fact that as a nation the UK has concerns of being victim to other governments “spying’ is indicative of the prevalence of such practices.

In fact, while the UK government is prohibited from breaching the privacy of its own citizens (although some headlines suggest the practice not only exists but is rife), it’s perfectly legal for the U.S. to snoop on us and sell the information back to our authorities.

Barmak Meftah, CEO and president of AlienVault, explained the relevance of these findings, “We know that if a government site or a national critical infrastructure is hacked it will cost lives, but it’s the impact for private companies that is all too often ignored. If a commercial enterprise holds personal information about people’s private lives, it could prove critical—even a matter of life or death. For example, recently a dating site was hacked and the implications to its members are potentially huge. The risk of individuals becoming victims to stalking, if that was the intention of the hacker in this case, is just one illustration, but the severity is ultimately dependant on who is behind the attack.”

However, the insider threat is still the largest factor facing organizations today. Seventy-one percent of the people surveyed worry that it’s their own staff who pose the biggest threat to their data. This far outweighs that of hackers (28%), consultants and other third parties (7%), and just 5% cited the government.

When looking at ways to improve security, 83% believe the open source community could collaborate better.

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