Half of Americans think their cybersecurity is worse than 5 years ago

Just under half of Americans — 49 percent — think their personal information is less secure than it was five years ago, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

They’re only slightly more optimistic about the government’s abilities. Twenty-eight percent of Americans are “not confident at all” that the federal government can keep their personal information safe. And when the Democratic National Committee is hacked by Russia and Yahoo says 1 billion of its users were affected by a hack, who can blame them?

“Despite their broad concerns about the safety of their personal information and their long-standing sense that they have lost control over their personal data, relatively few Americans are engaging in the digital best practices recommended by experts in the field,” report co-author Kenneth Olmstead said in a statement. “Even those users who are highly educated – or who themselves have been victim to some type of personal data breach – tend to adopt a ‘path of least resistance’ approach to managing their online passwords and accounts.”

The survey of 1,040 adults, conducted in spring 2016, found that 64 percent of Americans had personally experienced a major data breach. For 16 percent of respondents, that meant that someone took over their email accounts. For 13 percent, it was social media accounts.

That might be because Americans aren’t taking the necessary steps to protect their information. Thirty-nine percent of respondents said they used the same or similar passwords across their online accounts. Forty-one percent said they had shared one of their passwords with a friend or family member.

Older Americans are more worried about cybersecurity. Fifty-eight percent of respondents over 50 thought their information had become less safe in the past five years, compared to 41 percent of respondents between ages 18 and 49.

But 69 percent of adults said they don’t worry about how secure their passwords are at all.

Via: Mashable


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