This concern coupled with inaction could be due in part to lack of knowledge. The research, published in The Great Cyber Surrender, found 35% of Americans admitted they don’t know how to protect their data online, including 9% who say it would be too complicated to understand even if they tried to figure it out. Even more, 34% of Americans aren’t sure they’d know what to do if they were a victim of cybercrime.
These findings come despite the fact that in the US there were 467,361 complaints with reported losses of more than $3.5 billion in 2019, according to FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). We are living in a digital era where most people manage almost every aspect of their lives online and these results show many Americans are feeling powerless to protect themselves online.
Commissioned by Clario, a digital privacy and security company, and conducted by Demos, Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank, the comprehensive report investigates cybercrime, its impact on victims, cyber policy and digital policing by looking at responses from 2,000 people from both the US and the UK respectively.
The data also reveals that while most Americans believe they understand how to protect themselves (55%), cybercrime is still commonplace. One in three (35%) Americans have had their data accessed illegally and nearly one in five (19%) have had their data accessed illegally in the past year. Twenty percent of victims said they’ve lost something personal or of sentimental value and. Among those who lost money when their data was compromised, the average amount lost was $1,231.
What’s clear is that people are fatalistic about cybercrime. Nearly four in 10 (39%) of Americans don’t feel they have very much or any control of the security of their personal and financial information online, and one in four (25%) think there is nothing that can be done if a hacker decides to access their data, no matter the security measures they put in place.
The research also found that many Americans don’t believe they are at risk, with 35% of agreeing with the statement “I’m not important enough to be targeted by hackers,” and 32% agreeing “I’m not vulnerable enough to be targeted by hackers.” This false sense of security was more apparent among Gen Z-ers, 18-25 years old, with 50% feeling they aren’t important enough or vulnerable enough to be targeted by hackers. In comparison, those aged 65+ were far less likely to have this attitude, with just 15% agreeing with the statement “I’m not vulnerable enough,” and 22% agreeing “I’m not important enough” to be targeted by hackers.
Commenting on the findings, Scarlet Jeffers, VP of UX at Clario says:
“The report demonstrates a disconnect between American’s concerns about security and their own knowledge and ability to take action when comes to protecting themselves online. This is especially important when you consider we are living in a world where our lives are managed almost entirely online.”
“The Great Cyber Surrender report shows more needs to be done by the government and leading cybercrime bodies to raise awareness of the scale of the cybercrime crisis and what can be done to help tackle the problem. The public have been made to think that cybercrime isn’t preventable and that they should suffer in silence because so little is done to reprimand hackers. We need to change people’s perceptions and raise awareness of how consumers can strengthen their cybersecurity to not only protect their personal data but their digital lives.”
Notes to the editor
Clario and Demos conducted a comprehensive evidence review, looking at academic and grey literature to explore what others see as the key problems in this field. The report looks at two nationally representative polls of 2,000 people each from the US and UK, to understand public experiences, behaviours and attitudes regarding cybersecurity and cybercrime as well as the case studies of 20 victims of cybercrime, drawn from a diverse set of demographic backgrounds across the UK and US, who shared their personal stories of how they became victims and the emotional impact of their experiences. Download The Great Cyber Surrender here.
Clario Tech Limited is a London-based cybersecurity company. It was founded in 2019 to disrupt the security software industry by securing people’s digital lives with a human, customer-focussed approach to cybersecurity and act as a consumer champion. Clario employs more than 800 people including a large number of Apple Certified Tech experts.
Demos is Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank: an independent, educational charity, which produces original and innovative research.
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Name: Dan Bleier
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