A third of all internet users have been victims of a data breach

One in three consumers worldwide has been the victim of a data breach involving a company holding their personal data, research from cybersecurity firm Thales has claimed. 

The company’s report found that 82% of these data breach victims experienced some type of negative impact on their lives as a result, not surprisingly, as data breaches can put victims at significantly higher risk of issues such as identity theft protection.

Despite the virtual ubiquitousness of data breaches, the research found 82% of consumers continue to trust that online digital service providers will safeguard their personal data to at least some degree.

How should companies respond?

Thales’s survey also touched on consumers’ opinions about how firms should handle data breaches. 

Well over half – 54% – believe companies should be made to enforce mandatory data protection controls like encryption and two-factor authentication following a data breach.

The report also found that many consumers are prepared to vote with their wallets and hit companies where it hurts when it comes to data protection issues.

Just over a fifth (21%) of the consumers Thales surveyed said they have stopped using a company that suffered a data breach, of whom 42% requested they delete their information.

The research was also able to reveal some statistics about how trust varies between regions and between industries.

Thales’ research found that the financial sector was by far the most trusted industry among those surveyed, trusted by 42%.

This was followed by healthcare and consumer technology which 27% and 32% of consumers trusted respectively. 

Media and entertainment scored the worst of any category looked at, trusted by just 12%, while governments followed just behind with only 14% of consumers trusting them. 

The report also found that consumer trust varied widely by country.

Brazil and Mexico were by far the most trusting nations of those surveyed, scoring 95% and 92% respectively when asked: “To what extent do you trust online digital services, like shopping, social media, travel, etc. when it comes to the security of your personal data?”.

The same could not be said for consumers in the UK, Australia and France, where only 20% of those surveyed could say the same. 

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