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People and organisations don’t fully trust anyone when it comes to their online data

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Staff Writer | Friday November 9, 2018 5:02AM ET
online data
World   Many respondents worry that their provider might gather their online data

A new study of mid-size businesses and consumers reveals that many are confused and lack trust when it comes to the privacy and security of their online data and behaviour.

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The research, which covered six countries in Europe and North America, found that people worry that hackers, their own and foreign governments, employers and even friends and family might want to access their online data, and how to stop them.

The independent study, commissioned by Kaspersky Lab with the data analysis undertaken by Applied Marketing Research, surveyed 600 mid-sized companies with IT security professionals as well as 6,000 consumers with security software installed on their devices, split equally across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK and the US.

The top unwelcome intruders were, not surprisingly, cybercriminals, with 45% of businesses and 47% of consumers worried about protecting their online data from malicious attack.

But this is followed closely by wanting to protect it from their own government (36% and 33% respectively), and foreign governments and companies (30% and 26%). As many as one in three (29%) business respondents have concerns about their employer getting to their online data, while a quarter (26%) of consumers worry about their family snooping.

These concerns extended to cybersecurity, where there was widespread confusion about the information cybersecurity providers could access.

Many respondents worry that their provider might gather their online data, opinions, location or browsing habits and then share this information with foreign entities. However, the vast majority (87% of businesses and 82% of consumers) trust their security provider to behave ethically in the collection and use of their data.

These results suggest that the current cybersecurity landscape has created for both businesses and consumers an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt that has left many struggling to trust anyone at all online.

Privacy appears to be considered a fundamental right for everyone: 46% of businesses and 51% of consumers believe a cybersecurity provider should not automatically have to share a user’s private data with the government in matters of national security, but that it should depend on the circumstances.

The research also suggests that other things matter more to business and consumers than a company’s country of origin: 55% of businesses and 66% of consumers say their government should do business with the company that offers the highest quality products or services, even if it is a foreign company. Surprisingly, this rises to 82% and78% respectively when it concerns areas crucial to national security.


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