Nearly three out of four Brits are more alarmed than ever about their privacy, but many are willing to accept risks to make their lives easier

In today’s connected world, businesses are prime targets for cyber attacks and unintentional missteps can result in critical exposure of consumers’ sensitive personal information. According to the 2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, released today, from Norton™ LifeLock™, a Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) company, based on an online survey conducted by The Harris Poll of over 1,000 adults, nearly three out of four Brits (74 percent) are more alarmed than ever about their privacy. However, the majority accept certain risks to their online privacy out of convenience (65 percent) and are willing to sell or give away certain personal information, such as their location (57 percent) and internet search history (53 percent), to companies.

“The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union put data privacy on the agenda and significantly increased consumers’ awareness of their privacy rights,” said Nick Shaw, EMEA Vice President and General Manager, Norton. “Yet, consumers are still willing to trade their personal data out of convenience and to get more perks.”

“Our cyber safety is inherently tied to trust,” said Samir Kapuria, executive vice president and general manager, Consumer Digital Safety, Symantec. “Most consumers are aware their data is being captured from the websites they visit, the social media they share and the apps they use, and trust their information is being properly secured. However, these same consumers are often unaware how and why data is captured and what companies do with it. The sheer amount of personal information being collected about us shows no signs of slowing and there is greater value placed on it than ever before.”

Additional UK findings include:

  • People view data protection as a right. Most British consumers are not willing to pay organisations to ensure protection of their personal information. That’s particularly true when it comes to social media providers, with 78 percent of consumers saying they are not willing to pay providers to ensure their personal information is protected when using them, compared to 72 percent for retailers,  68 percent for financial institutions and 67 percent for healthcare institutions.
  • British consumers have little to no trust in social media providers. 95 percent of consumers express little (40 percent) or no (55 percent) trust in social media providers when it comes to managing and protecting their personal information. In fact, over one in four Britons with a social media account (28 percent) have deleted an account in the past 12 months due to privacy concerns.
  • Despite concerns, consumers in the UK embrace data sharing: While 82 percent of Brits say they are concerned about their privacy, some say they are willing to sell or give away certain personal data, including internet search history (17 percent would give away for free, 36 percent would sell) and location (20 percent would give away, 37 percent would sell). Some are even willing to provide identification document information, such as driver’s license or passport information (16 percent would give away, 26 percent would sell).
  • Younger generations are more inclined to take action on social media accounts. 36 percent of UK consumers aged 18-38 have deleted a social media account in the past 12 months due to privacy concerns, compared to only 18 percent of those aged 39-53 and 14 percent of those aged 54+. However, younger generations are significantly more likely to embrace data sharing in the digital age, with 51 percent of 18-38 year olds willing to sell their internet search history and 41 percent willing to sell an identification document information. This is compared to 28 percent of 39 year olds and older willing to sell their Internet search history and 18 percent willing to sell identification document information.

Kapuria adds, “Although consumers want greater control over their privacy and action taken against those that mishandle personal data, they want this control to come without hassle or cost, so they are willing to take risks in favour of convenience. Convenience continues to reign supreme when it comes to sharing personal data.”

What’s Next for Cyber Safety?

Over the last year alone, nearly 17 million British consumers experienced cyber crime – that’s a third of Brits (33 percent) – and 62 percent believe it’s likely they will experience cyber crime in the next year. In fact, 60 percent believe they are equally or more likely to experience cyber crime than they are to get the flu! As a result of cyber crime in the past year, losses totalled an estimated £1.7 billion and 92.7 million hours lost dealing with the aftermath, with two out of five (38 percent) spending a week or longer dealing with the problem.

There are several best practices consumers can follow to help safeguard against online threats:

  • Never open suspicious-looking emails: Cyber criminals send fake emails or texts that may look legitimate. The links in these emails or texts contain malicious software that can download malware and spyware. The software may be able to mine your computer for personal information, which is then sent to a remote computer where the attacker could sell the information on the dark web or use the information to commit identity theft.
  • Make use of a VPN on public Wi-Fi: Many public Wi-Fi connections are unencrypted. This could give cyber criminals a chance to snoop on data being sent and received by your device. If there are software vulnerabilities on your device, attackers can inject malware to help them gain access to your data. In some cases, attackers create fake Wi-Fi hotspots purporting to be legitimate networks.
  • Own your online presence: Carefully read the terms and conditions before opening an account or downloading an application, including social media accounts. Be sure to, set the privacy and security settings on web services and devices to your comfort level for information sharing.
  • Get two steps ahead and manage your passwords: Switch on two-step verification or multi-factor authentication wherever offered to help prevent unauthorised access to your online accounts. Always change the default passwords to something strong and unique on your devices, services, and Wi-Fi networks.

To learn more about the real impact of cyber crime and how consumers can help protect their online privacy, identity, and digital information, visit here.

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