People are most fearful of their credit cards or bank statements being hacked, with 78 percent of Americans and Germans ranking it a top concern. That number is even higher in the UK, where 85 percent of residents rank credit card and bank data as their biggest hack concern.
The Centrify study, which surveyed 2,400 people across the US, UK and Germany, also found that consumers are very concerned about their financial investment information falling prey to hackers, with 58 percent in the US, 56 percent in the UK and 43 percent in Germany citing it as a top concern.
This is followed by health and medical records, with 46 percent in the US, 45 percent in the U.K. and 48 percent in Germany saying they are most fearful of this information being hacked. By contrast, consumers are less worried about their family information falling into the hands of hackers, with just 44 percent in the US, 41 percent in the U.K. and 43 percent in Germany citing this as a top concern.
Hacks related to criminal history, web browsing history and dating profile information are least concerning for consumers. This is likely because a significant percentage of people do not find this information embarrassing.
The study also found that when personal information is hacked, consumers do not always hear directly from the targeted business or organization that holds their data. At least half of respondents in each country who were victims of a hack said they heard about the hack via the news. Younger adults are more likely to hear about such hacks from social media.
Poor password hygiene
Additionally, the survey revealed that, despite the growing media spotlight on high profile hacks, most consumers have poor password habits and do not take adequate precaution to protect their personal information. One-quarter of Americans change their passwords at least once a month (more than in any other country). One-quarter of Americans and one-third of consumers in the UK and Germany change their passwords once a year, less or never.
This is striking given that consumers are increasingly vulnerable to attacks. Over half of Americas and two-thirds in the UK do most or all of their banking online, and about one-third do most or all of their shopping online, according to the study.
Getting better at security
The good news is that many consumers are eager to improve their online habits. The study found that frequent password changes are more common among those who have had their personal info hacked in the past and those who tend to do more online shopping.
What’s more, survey respondents indicated they are willing to invest time in completing security tasks if it makes them safer. More than half of all Germans (52 percent) expressed a willingness to spend at least 10 minutes on security measures, followed by 46 percent in the U.S. and 30 percent in the UK.
Half or more selected a fingerprint ID as one of the top two security measures they would be comfortable using. The alphanumeric password, the four-digit password and voice ID follow. The study revealed that people are much less comfortable with the graphic password, GPS locator and the ability to erase data remotely.