Against a backdrop of escalating cybersecurity attacks against public and private sector organizations in the U.S., a large percentage of Americans believe that a breach of their personal data held by a retailer or a government agency is likely within the next year.
So says a survey released by Unisys Corp., in partnership with Lieberman Research Group.
The same research found that trust in banks and healthcare facilities to protect personal data remains high—higher, among U.S. respondents, than in other categories. Only 24% of respondents said a breach of their personal data held by a bank was likely in the next year, with 44% saying such a breach was unlikely. For healthcare organizations, only 28% said a breach was likely, and 41% thought it unlikely.
The Unisys Security Insights survey asked consumers in 12 countries about the likelihood that their personal data held by seven types of organizations (airlines, banking/finance, government, healthcare, retail, telecom, and utilities) would be accessed by an unauthorized person within the next year.
When asked about the likelihood that their personal data held by a retailer would be accessed by an unauthorized person within the next year, 44% of U.S. respondents said they believed a breach was likely—with only 19% saying it was unlikely.
Asked the same question about personal data held by government agencies, 39% said a breach was likely, and 29% said it was unlikely. For telecommunications companies, 35% said a breach was likely, with 25% stating it was unlikely.
Unisys security experts said that several recent, highly-publicized cyber attacks have increased concern among consumers about the safety of their personal data held by various organizations—especially those in the retail sector where breaches have hit consumers most directly. The survey results may also reflect concerns about the country's general readiness to combat cyber threats.
U.S. respondents reported the lowest overall level of concern about likely security breaches among the consumers in the 12 countries surveyed. For example, nearly twice the percentage of respondents in the Netherlands and Germany thought a breach of their personal data was likely than their counterparts in the U.S.
The Unisys Security Insights surveyed nearly 11,000 people in 12 countries: Australia, Brazil, Colombia, France, Germany, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The U.S. Security Insights survey is based on an online survey of 1,016 persons aged 18 and over, April 17-19, 2015. The data from this study are weighted according to the most recent estimates published by the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure projectability of the data to U.S. adults.