A new study has found that most consumers don’t understand just how vulnerable their Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is on the internet.
First Data’s 2018 Consumer Cybersecurity Study is based on data from 1,767 U.S. consumers among four age groups: Linksters (ages 18-23), Socializers (24-34), the MTV Generation (35-54), and Maturists (55+).
“The results of the survey show that consumers lack awareness as to how much of their PII is on the dark web, and have little trust in businesses’ abilities to keep their data safe,” EJ Jackson, Head of Security and Fraud Solutions, First Data, in a press release. “Advances in technology are opening new opportunities for fraudsters to obtain PII, and businesses must proactively respond by implementing technology solutions that keep consumer data safe and secure.”
In fact, nearly one-fourth of consumers within each generation assume their personal information is safe unless notified of a breach. In addition, 26 percent of consumers reported that their PII had been compromised within the last month, and 34 percent experienced a compromise within the last year.
Despite those results, the majority of consumers haven’t searched the dark web to find out if their data is available. Just 12 percent of Maturists had ever conducted a scan, Linksters (35 percent) and Socializers (33 percent) were most likely to have a conducted a scan for their own PII.
For those who have performed a scan, more than half in each generation reported that at least some of their information appeared on the dark web. While Socializers (90 percent) and Linksters (89 percent) were the most likely to find their PII on the dark web, Maturists (58 percent) also found their personal information exposed more often than not.
And with social platforms at the center of several recent data breaches, it might not come as a surprise that one in five (18 percent) of U.S. consumers say they’ve had a social media account hacked, and recent exposures are causing more users to delete accounts or change passwords.