A Pew Research Center study reveals people are not protecting their privacy online from one of their greatest fears
People feel like they have lost control of their privacy online. Ironically, to make it worse, they feel incapable of adequately securing themselves.
The study, released January this year, reveals people feel overwhelmed by their internet privacy fears. Cybersecurity appears unstable at even the highest levels. For instance, an example is the recent Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
1,040 American adults completed a survey during the spring of 2016. It gathered statistics about the habits and attitudes of the general American Population. Presently, 64% of Americans claim to have experienced data breaches online. As a consequence, online privacy fears are real.
Despite such a huge volume of people violated, very few take steps to prevent this. Between a quarter to nearly a half of people admitting to taking very lazy security measures. Regrettably, 41% of adults admitted to sharing their account passwords with friends and family.
Why are people experiencing such security fatigue?
People will spend thousands of dollars securing their homes and possessions. However online, they leave the door to their most private worlds open to anyone and anything.
Facebook Chief Security officer, Alex Stamos, suggests people are experiencing “security nihilism“. Regrettably, as well as “security warning fatigue” they also feel kept in the dark about how their security becomes breached.
People have witnessed their lives become sucked into the cyber realm in an extremely short period of time, in the scheme of human history
Technology moves at such a rapid pace, keeping up with cybersecurity feels daunting. Strangely enough, the mass media does nothing to help. When we read news reports of robberies against banks or people’s home, the media will generally explain how it took place.
Ironically, people can work out how to counter these threats. However, with cyber crime, the media gives practically no information about how the cyber criminals got away with it.
Accordingly, we feel like we have lost control, and that we must simply endure the intense anxiety involved. For example, we give our sensitive information to online government organizations, banks and social media, and wish for the best.
It is this silence from the media that enables cyber criminals to proliferate, according to the CTO of HackerOne, Alex Rice. Victimized organizations will avoid documenting violations to their security for fear of repercussions. This privacy fear creates a cycle of despair.
In the meantime, this confusion clouds understanding of how cybersecurity becomes breached. Hacking, ironically, is one of the easiest breaches to prevent. Presently, statistics show that by simply installing patches prevents 90% of hacking incidents.
The most concerning cyber breaches come from phishing scams that prey on human naivety and gullibility
And if you think you are immune, as well as hacking, it was mostly phishing that breached the DNC cyber security. Clearly, anyone is vulnerable to phishing scams.
And sometimes, it is merely faulty system design that inadvertently exposes private information. If an organization’s cyber security contains a weak link in its chain, it can break and release sensitive and vulnerable data.
It therefore pays to become immediately proactive in protecting your sensitive online information. In conclusion, here are several steps you can take to allay your fears, listed below:
- Install all updates onto your computer and smartphone. These contain the latest security patches that ward off hackers.
- Pay attention to security warnings. Try not to develop “security warning fatigue“. In any case, make sure that something like your computer clock isn’t giving you unnecessary warnings. And if your browser says a website is not secure, don’t enter it!
- Lock down the web. Use only encrypted connections. This way, reliable websites, and apps will inform you when an encrypted connection is part of their relationship with you.
- Become password savvy. Use the password manager in the browser. By the same token, incorporate the two-step verification process when you log on to reliable websites.