A new survey from LexingtonLaw has revealed a startling outcome about data breach. According to the report, 56% of Americans have never checked to see if they have been affected by a data breach.
Considering all the reports about data breaches in the news, this piece of data is quite a revelation. But as LexingtonLaw says in the report, “Many Americans are lost when it comes to data breaches.”
For small business owners, this is a great opportunity to inform customers about the importance of data security. Sharing the dangers they face in today’s digital ecosystem can be a value-added service with many benefits.
As the report points out, the biggest problem is not knowing what to do. The key findings of the survey have three major points which highlight the lack of knowledge currently taking place.
- A majority of Americans have never checked if they’ve been affected by a data breach
- 1 in 5 people have checked for a breach within the last month
- 66% don’t know what to check if a breach occurs
If you don’t check for any data breaches and don’t know what to check, it compounds the problem. For hackers, this kind of complacency is the ideal scenario for committing long-term credit frauds.
LexingtonLaw reports since 2013 there have been more than 13.4 billion data records lost or stolen. Whether it was the 500 million people who had the information exposed in the Marriot breach or the countless others, the problem and news is hard to avoid.
Yet, a large percentage of Americans across the board have never checked for a data breach. This includes 69% of tech-savvy 18 to 24-year-olds who have never checked.
The number gets slightly better for other groups, but it is still very high. It goes down to 59% for those between 25 to 34 years of age, and just one percent lower at 58% for 35-44-year olds.
Surprisingly, older Americans are 50% more likely to have checked for a data breach at some point compared to all other age groups.
Not Knowing What to Do
The biggest challenge for individuals, as well as small businesses, is not knowing what to do during a data breach. With so many data breaches taking place, checking each one can be a daunting task.
In the survey, 66% said they don’t know what to check if a data breach takes place. Again, 18 to 24-year-olds are least likely to know what to check.
Birth certificates, Social Security numbers, passport numbers, credit card numbers, and email addresses are some of the information criminals seek out. When vitally important personal information is compromised, the damage can be catastrophic and very difficult to overcome.
The impact, as LexingtonLaw says, can be huge on your life.
Fight Cybersecurity Complacency With These Basic Steps to Protect your Data
Protecting your personal data requires a proactive effort on your part. Being complacent makes you a perfect target for hackers who are scouring the Internet 24/7 for victims.
Start by signing up for a credit monitoring service. The three reporting agencies provide a service, but you can also choose third-party solutions. But don’t rely on them alone.
Check your credit at least twice per year, the more the better.
In addition to your credit history, secure all your computing devices at home and in your workplace. Make sure to have the latest update for all of your software, including anti-virus and malware protection.
As more of the things in your life become connected (TVs, cars, homes, etc.) make sure they don’t become a gateway for an attack too.
The best recommendation is to seek the advice of a professional to ensure you are fully protected. There is a clear and present danger, but there is also much you can do to protect yourself, loved ones and business.