3 of 4 Consumers Have Changed Online Behavior Due to Cybercrime

October 29, 2015, Written By John H. Oldshue
Computer with words cyber security. Internet technology concept.

Nearly 3 of 4 adults (74%) in the United States say they have changed their online behaviors due to the threat of cybercrime, according to a recent survey. The most common changes are not conducting transactions on a shared computer (46% of respondents) and changing passwords more often, not giving out personal information and not using public Wi-Fi (each at 35%).

Not only have behaviors changed, perception of security is also different due to the increase in data breaches, which were up 23% in 2014. 42% of respondents feel less secure than they did five years ago, and 44% reported having experienced a security breach first-hand.

Despite these feelings, 81% of respondents have not  invested in online theft or identity theft protection.

Even though the health care industry accounts for more data breaches (37% in 2014) than any other sector, 68% of Americans trust health care providers with their personal data. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents trust the financial (68%) and education (67%) sectors.

The government and retail were viewed most negatively by respondents. Only 50% of consumers trust the retail industry with their personal data and just 41% say they trust the government with their information.

93% of respondents want the public and private sectors to do more when it comes to fighting cybercrime. Most Americans would like to see more investment in cyber security (72%), or an increase in qualified personnel (46%).

The study highlighted a number of ways consumers can protect their identity:

  • Create passwords that contain upper and lowercase letters, numbers and other characters.
  • If an email comes from an unknown source, don’t open attachments. These often contain viruses that allow criminals to access your computer.
  • Use a firewall and keep it up to date, as it will block viruses.
  • Most companies will not ask for personal information via email. If something seems questionable, contact the organization directly.
  • Look for a lock on your browser to make sure that it is secure.

The survey was from the University of Phoenix and conducted online by the Harris Poll in September among 2,028 U.S. adults.

The information contained within this article was accurate as of October 29, 2015. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.