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Report says smart people do dumb things online

Mar 21, 20173 mins
Data and Information SecurityIdentity Management SolutionsIT Skills

People from the religious and legal fields were considered lazy for not following security standards.

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People who identified themselves in a survey as “tech savvy” were 18 percent more likely to be victims of online identity theft. In addition those who said they had Ph.Ds were more frequently victims than high school graduates.

These were some of the interesting findings of online training company CBT Nuggets in a survey of 2,000 respondents.

“Some of the more surprising findings include – for example – that 69 percent of those surveyed in the legal industry don’t care to follow online security practices. And 23 percent of people felt secure sharing their Social Security number with Amazon,” said Tyler Tanigawa, ‎Success Driven Inbound Marketing Specialist at CBT Nuggets. “We all need to be more conscious of the risk and protect ourselves by diversifying our passwords, using a VPN on public Wi-Fi hotspots, and taking that extra time to protect ourselves online.”

When asked why they didn’t follow basic security recommendations, 40 percent of those surveyed said they were too lazy, found it to be too inconvenient, or they didn’t really care – an interesting thing to say after admitting being hacked was a significant risk. On the educational front, those with professional degrees were the most unconcerned about security. Legal and religious scored the highest on the lazy scale.

“Common sense tells us not to trust online retailers with our personal data, and to implement rigorous online security practices. Yet a significant portion of even tech savvy people seem to disregard their common sense when it comes to certain online vendors and services,” Tanigawa said.

The survey showed that plenty of people use the same password across multiple platforms. When asked, self-identified tech-savvy folk were just over 6 percent more likely than the non-tech crowd to have unique passwords. Nearly 66 percent of those surveyed said having their personal information compromised was a “medium” or “huge” risk, yet fewer than 4 percent followed all the basic security recommendations.

When participants were asked which information they’d be most alarmed with a stranger accessing, their Social Security number topped the list (90 percent), followed by their phone number (82 percent) and street address (79 percent).

Only 1 in 5 Americans trust the government, but when it comes to personal data, most don’t think twice about sharing this information with official government websites. Of those surveyed, 76 percent said they would share their Social Security number with a government website, and 74 percent would do the same with major banking websites.

Maryland, Alabama, Kentucky, and Massachusetts all ranked as having the highest proportion of identity theft victims. This might mean respondents in these states use more public Wi-Fi and take fewer precautions than others, and perhaps some states are generally more connected online, the survey noted.. Or there may be an element of chance at play. Either way, participants from Arizona and Louisiana may be the least at risk.

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