Study shows Americans are a cocky bunch when dealing with cybersecurity and nude photos

A majority of those surveyed by Blumberg Capital believe they know more about cybersecurity than President Trump and their mothers.

Dapper man in blue suit pointing at camera confidently

To a group of survey respondents, it seems if they can't see cybersecurity, then it must not exist. Sixty percent of respondents to a survey by Blumberg Capital, an early-stage venture capital firm, believe that they have never been a victim of cyber hacking or are unaware if they have.

But it seems they wouldn't know a cybercrime if it came up and bit them. Forty-five percent of respondents admitted to not being able to recognize a cyber crime unless contacted by a vendor or law enforcement authorities.

That seems hard to believe when the Insurance Information Institute claims that in the U.S. $15 billion was stolen from 13.1 million American consumers in 2015.

“Consumers and businesses alike all face open hacking and virus threats on a daily basis, yet according to the survey 45 percent of people admit to not being able to recognize a cyber crime unless contacted by a vendor or law enforcement. Making matters worse, the more dangerous threats in the deep and dark web are often unseen and go undetected by many security vendors and experts," said Guy Nizan, CEO and founder at IntSights.

Blumberg's survey of 1,012 people showed 63 percent of respondents rate their knowledge of cybersecurity equal to or higher than the likes of Donald Trump and believe they know as much as Hillary Clinton (62 percent), their employer’s IT departments (57 percent), FBI director James Comey (44 percent) and CIA director John Brennan (42 percent). 

“The data is clear: cyber attacks are far more prevalent than we think they are, and they can be devastating for consumers as well as businesses. Just as individuals should take care to secure their data and use only trusted online payment services and websites, businesses must implement the practices, tools and insurance necessary to protect their investment," said Keith Moore, CEO at CoverHound and CyberPolicy.

It is also astounding that only 7 percent of those surveyed are worried about keeping nude photos of themselves off the internet or at the very least secure. Another 5 percent find dating sites to be the least trustworthy with their personal information.

“Consumers vastly underestimate cybersecurity threats and don’t know how to identify, respond or protect themselves from future attacks,” said David Blumberg, founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital. “The cybersecurity landscape is complex and ever-evolving. Bad actors are constantly finding new ways to bypass security measures to infiltrate confidential systems and steal information or sabotage infrastructure. Even experts can miscalculate how to mitigate risks and existing security solutions are no longer enough, especially in areas such as IoT or cloud security.”

Mothers don’t always know best

Eighty-two percent of those surveyed believe they know more about cybersecurity than their mothers. The majority of people don’t believe they’ve been hacked, and 74 percent believe that a simple password change is ample protection.

Additionally, the survey revealed that about half of respondents don’t believe they have ever been a victim of a cyber attack (48 percent), while a quarter thought it was possible they had been (24 percent). Baby boomers are more likely to believe they have never been a victim (54 percent), while millennials are more suspicious that they may have been compromised (32 percent).

The most common reactions to a cyber attack were to change a password (74 percent) and to contact the bank (46 percent). Only 13 percent expressed complete confidence in their own ability to recognize if they have been hacked.

Less than half (39 percent) of Americans are concerned over potential hacks of laptop computers and 38 percent are concerned about potential hacks of IoT devices such as smart appliances and smartphones.

“Rather than trying to protect each individual device, consumers need to protect all connected devices from the network gateway, the nexus of all communication between IoT devices. By effectively securing this critical access point SAM enables ISPs to ensure their customers can embrace the connected home safely and securely," said Sivan Rauscher, co-founder and CEO, SAM Seamless Networks.

“Consumers, businesses and governments have a lot to learn about protecting IoT devices both in the home and industrial settings. As fast as technology is evolving, so are the cyber threats. Operational security for critical systems is paramount because it translates into safety and human lives. Using an existing enterprise/information-security based approach is like fighting tomorrow's wars with yesterday’s weapons," said Gil Keini, co-founder and CEO at Firmitas.

Fifty-one percent of those surveyed cite identity theft as the biggest cybersecurity issue facing consumers. Forty-four percent listed their Social Security number as the most important information to keep safe, followed by bank account passwords (27 percent), credit card numbers (22 percent) and personal email passwords (12 percent).

“It is clear Americans are becoming more aware of identity related threats. As the risks increase, we’ve seen a booming adoption of new behavioral analytics solutions to discover compromised identities in the consumer and enterprise world," said Idan Tendler, CEO and co-founder at Fortscale.

Slava Bronfman, co-founder and CEO at Cybellum

“Companies should be concerned that only 10 percent of Americans are worried about protecting their work email passwords. An organization’s security is only as strong as its weakest link and an attacker can easily gain access to a company’s data and systems through one employee credential. These results demonstrate that despite a company’s best intentions to educate their employees, they cannot count on team members to always do the right thing," said Slava Bronfman, co-founder and CEO at Cybellum.

Consumers are least concerned about protecting their work email passwords (10 percent), online dating passwords (9 percent) and nude or racy photos (7 percent). Fifty-five percent believe the most important cybersecurity problem for businesses is securing customer information. Thirty-seven percent listed securing employee information as top priority, with 17 percent listing data being encrypted by hackers and held for ransom.  

“Consumers are the weakest link in terms of cybersecurity and the fact is it’s only going to get worse as hackers get smarter, extra aggressive and more creative with the ways they fraud consumers and businesses," said Eyal Goldwerger, CEO at BioCatch.

Overwhelmingly, 72 percent rank foreign espionage threats as the biggest cybersecurity problem facing the U.S. Government. Twenty-three percent believe the top government concern is securing confidential intelligence reports, and 17 percent feel the top government concern is securing citizen records such as IRS filings. Only one in 10 believe interfering with elections through propaganda is a serious issue.

"It is no surprise that consumers named identity theft as the biggest cybersecurity issue facing them today. We’re living in a post-Snowden era where many people have a heightened awareness towards data privacy. As a result, it is important for businesses to build a layer of trust and safety on the internet that meets the data privacy expectations of consumers, while keeping homeland security, and the risks of financial fraud and money laundering activities in check," said Stephen Ufford, CEO and founder at Trulioo.

Who do you trust?

Survey respondents said their employers were the most trustworthy organization followed by their doctors and their banks. Most believe in-person hand delivery is the safest way to transfer confidential information. Only 16 percent believe social networks are trustworthy.

Ninety-Five percent of adults expressed at least some concern about their personal information being hacked on e-commerce sites, with eleven percent being very concerned. Gen X-ers are the most concerned, with 25 percent reporting being “very concerned” compared to 17 percent of all other respondents.

How do you stack up in this study? Head over to Facebook to weigh in.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 hot cybersecurity trends (and 2 going cold)