A Siber Systems survey of over 700 adults from the United States, the U.K., Germany and other countries shows a significant disconnect between how individuals perceive online security and the measures they’re willing to take to protect their personal information.
Among the major findings of the research, 60% of respondents believe online companies are careless about the security of their customers’ personal information. Facebook, according to the study, is by far the least-trusted Web site among the most popular online destinations, with 57% of all respondents rating the site at the top of their least-trusted list. Moreover, nearly one-third (31%) of those taking the survey do not trust cloud-based companies to keep their personal data safe.
Many people report experiences with having a personal online account hacked. Nearly 30% have suffered the experience with at least one account; of those, 53% had personal email hacked, 23% have had an online shopping account broken into, and 29% report a breach of a social media account.
Yet such negative attitudes and difficulties, for many, do not translate into improved security practices. Of those individuals who admitted having a personal account hacked, 79.2% continued to use the site linked to the account.
Among all respondents security practices are often lax; one out of three occasionally uses the same passwords for both work and personal accounts. Women, according to the results, are twice as likely to use a word or detail in their password that is personal to them, such as their mother’s maiden name.
While many commercial Web sites are considering more secure login practices to protect users, the survey indicates a significant number of people would find those practices burdensome. For example, if a company introduced two-step login verification wherein a second password is sent to a pre-agreed phone number, 23% said they would not have the time to go through such a process, and another 13% replied it sounded too complicated. Forty-two percent, however, said they would trust such a company more with their personal information.
One key finding of the survey indicated that generational differences are involved in personal security—a result that has implications for Web site operators. While approximately 55% of those 45 and older believe the security of their personal information is their own responsibility, 58% of those under 45 believe it’s the responsibility of the online company or organization that has their information. Older adults—those over the age of 35—are also far more likely to use a password management software tool.