A new study finds that when it comes to cybersecurity, Americans are concerned, but not necessarily prepared to take the appropriate preventative steps to protect themselves from a cyber attack. According to Chubb’s Third Annual Cyber Report, which examined individuals’ comprehension of cyber risks and the steps they are taking to protect themselves, complacency seems to have taken hold: eight-in-10 Americans continue to be concerned about a cyber breach, yet only 41% use cybersecurity software and 31% regularly change their passwords. These numbers are virtually unchanged from 2018.
Key findings include:
- According to the study, individuals don’t recognize the value of individual pieces of personal data. For example, just 18% of respondents are concerned about their email addresses being compromised. But, coupled with the fact that less than one-third of respondents regularly change online passwords—consistent with 2018’s findings—a single email address can be a gold mine for hackers.
- Survey results indicate that when it comes to cybersecurity, a consistently large portion of older respondents employ better cyber practices than younger generations. Per the survey, 77% of those over 55 delete suspicious emails, compared to half (55%) of respondents between 35 to 54 and just a third (36%) of respondents from 18 to 34.
- More concerning is that younger generations don’t just continue to shun the cyber lessons of older generations, their behavior is actively getting worse. For example, 76% and 74% of adults over 55+ regularly deleted suspicious emails in 2017 and 2018, respectively, as compared to just 47% and 40% of adults between 18 and 34 during the same time period. Learning from past events and generations before us is critical to prevent repeating the same cyber missteps.
- Businesses aren’t immune to the lack of progress around cybersecurity. For instance, while a consistent number of individuals (75% and 70%) say that their company has “excellent” or “good” cybersecurity practices in place from 2018 and 2019, many companies continue to fail to implement the most basics of safeguards. From 2018 to 2019, there was virtually no change in the percentage of companies who hold annual employee trainings (31% and 33%), deploy filters for online content (38% and 40%) and leverage social media blocks (32% and 33%).
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