Majority of Americans feel their personal information online is at risk

Hoang NguyenData Journalist
March 12, 2018, 2:00 PM GMT+0

Just one in ten Americans use a password manager to protect login information

Last year, credit bureau Equifax suffered a major security breach, and recently, the consumer-reporting agency disclosed an additional 2.4 million Americans were exposed in the hack. It’s no wonder then that nearly three-quarters of Americans (73%) told YouGov in a survey that they feel their online data and personal information is vulnerable to hackers.

A recent poll from YouGov Omnibus reveals that Americans over the age of 55 (80%) are the most likely to report that they feel their personal information is at risk followed by 35 to 54 year-olds (73%) and 18 to 34 year-olds (65%). Less than a fifth of Americans say they feel their information is not vulnerable.

While there’s little Americans can do when a bank or company like Equifax is hacked, Americans can protect the data they have on their computers. Nearly three-quarters of Americans (74%) say they use some form of computer protection service like anti-virus software or firewalls to protect themselves from cyber attacks. Many (45%) opt for free services but nearly three in ten (29%) pay for premium services and peace of mind. Americans over the age of 55, who were the most likely to report feeling vulnerable online, are also the most likely of all age groups to say they use some type of computer protection software (83%). A majority of 35 to 54 year-olds (71%) and 18 to 34 year-olds (66%) also use a service to protect their computers.

Close to one in five Americans (18%) say they don’t use any type of computer protection. YouGov’s survey reveals that of those people, many say they don’t use such security measures because the services are too expensive (33%) or they feel they don’t need it (30%). Others cite that anti-virus software is too complicated (14%) or are skeptical of its effectiveness (12%).

While the Equifax break compromised social security numbers and driver’s licenses, some hacks target personal information such as one’s login and passwords. According to YouGov’s poll, nearly half of Americans (48%) say they keep track of their login information by memorizing them. This method is particularly popular with 57% of millennials but older Americans ages 35 to 54 (50%) and over 55’s (39%) are less likely to store their passwords in their heads. Over a third of Americans say that writing the logins down (39%) is the way they keep track of that information followed by saving the logins in their browsers (21%). Security experts recommend using a password manager, which just one in ten Americans say they do (10%).

Aside from gaining access to personal information, some cyberattacks include hacking a computer’s webcam to infringe upon someone’s privacy. Over a third of Americans (36%) say they cover up at least some of the cameras on their desktop or personal computers.

Read the full results from this poll here

Learn more about YouGov Omnibus

Image: Getty

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