Americans value their personal data above their wallets

personal data

When asked which items would concern them most if stolen, 55 percent of Americans responding to a new survey named personal data, compared to 23 percent their wallet, 10 percent their car, and just six percent each their phone or house keys.

The study by cyber security and application delivery company Radware  surveyed over 3,000 US adults finds that social security numbers are the data people value most with 54 percent saying they would be most concerned if this was stolen.

Respondents were less concerned with the theft of their banking information (18 percent), credit card number (nine percent), health records (nine percent), private cryptocurrency key (four percent), passport information (three percent), and driver's license (two percent). This is despite the fact that social security numbers sell on the dark web for as little as $2, whereas full medical records can fetch up to $1,000.

"It's no surprise that data theft ranks so high in the minds of Americans as a major risk," said Anna Convery-Pelletier, chief marketing officer for Radware. "It's easy to buy a new car or a new cell phone, but having private data exposed can have permanent consequences for both the consumer and the brand where the breach occurred. When an organization does not properly secure its network, it is putting its brand reputation in jeopardy and risking its customer base."

The results also show a growing understanding of the fact that data breaches can significantly impact customer loyalty and brand reputation. Less than one-in-four (23 percent) of Americans say they would continue to do business with a brand after a breach, 10 percent say they would no longer do business with that organization, and the majority (68 percent) say they would need to be convinced that the business fixed the security issue before returning.

Radware's recent 2018 Executive Application and Network Security Report reveals an understanding of the threat at industry level too, with more than 40 percent of companies ranking customer loss as the top threat to their business from a cyberattack. Additional Radware research shows that retail executives in particular view customer loss as the top threat, with more than half (58 percent) noting that customer loss was top of mind.

"Some of your most private information can be bought and sold on the internet for less than the price of a cup of coffee," adds Convery-Pelletier. "While Americans don't realize how much of their personal information might be stored by the businesses they interact with daily, a breach can quickly put consumer identity, credit, and other information at risk. The onus is on organizations to invest in the right technology and services to improve their security posture and prevent these massive breaches from happening in the first place."

The full report is available to download from the Radware website.

Image credit: kenary820 / Shutterstock

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