Americans scared of Internet security

  • Almost 20% of households affected last year
  • Risk goes up dramatically with multiple device use
Americans scared of Internet security

INITIALLY, it was the Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS). Now the Americans are scared of something else. According to a new survey by the US Government, almost half of all Americans have not carried out a normal online task because of security fears,
Forty-five percent of the 41,000 households contacted said they had decided not to do online banking or buy goods online, or post on social networks because they were worried about security and privacy. About a third of the households said they had stopped many of these activities over the same fears.
The survey by the Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) can be found here. It also makes a direct link between people scaling back their online activities and a wave of recent security breaches of personal data.
According to the survey, about 19% of households, which equates to nearly 24 million households across the United States, have been directly affected by an online security breach in the past year. Hardly surprising given that major consumer companies like Target, Home Depot, Verizon, Wendy's and Kiddicare had become hack victims.
The data also reveals that more you do online, the more likely you are to have your information compromised. Of households that reported only having one online device like a computer or laptop, six percent of them said they had been victim of a data breach. That percentage goes up to 31% of households with five or more online devices.
"Every day, billions of people around the world use the Internet to share ideas, conduct financial transactions, and keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues," an NTIA policy analyst Rafi Goldberg wrote in a related blog post. "Users send and store personal medical data, business communications, and even intimate conversations over this global network. But for the Internet to grow and thrive, users must continue to trust that their personal information will be secure and their privacy protected."
Identity theft sits at the top of people's fears with 63% citing it as a real concern. Credit card and banking fraud comes second at 45%.
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