Most Americans leave themselves open to cyberattack, yet one third would hold the maker of a device responsible if a hack occurred, even if outdated software was the cause, according to a new consumer cybersecurity survey from Netsparker Ltd.
When it comes to cybersecurity, four fifths of Americans admit to behaviors that put them at risk, according to the report. Many of these risky behaviors have been written about for many years, yet many ignore these warnings, the report said.
Consumer Cybersecurity Survey
The most common risky behaviors were:
- Using open, unsecured Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, restaurants and other locations — 40 percent
- Clicking on unfamiliar links on social media — 35 percent
- Downloading files from unknown third-party sources — 31 percent
- Opening email attachments from unknown sources — 31 percent
Password use was another area of widespread risk, according to the report. More than one third of survey respondents admit to using the same password for all logins (34%) and using weak passwords (33 percent). Fifty-eight percent of Americans use fewer than four passwords for all of their online logins; 15 percent say they are constantly forgetting and resetting their passwords.
Americans would be most concerned if their email (57 percent), computer files (40 percent) or browsing history (30 percent) were hacked, according to the report .
Outdated software has been the cause of many large-scale hacks, most recently the Equifax security breach, researchers noted. The survey revealed that, unfortunately, Americans are exposing themselves to these same vulnerabilities.
Just over a third of Americans (34 percent) update their computer’s operating system when prompted. But 22 percent don’t realize they’re supposed to update their operating systems, procrastinate updating, or simply never do it. Another 7 percent only update yearly.
“There are many simple steps that Americans can take to protect themselves against data hacks,” said Ferruh Mavituna, Netsparker founder and CEO, in a prepared statement. “Implementing stronger passwords and keeping software updated are two obvious ways. Security scanning is another. Data hacks are the threat that define our age, and consumers must be proactive about keeping their sensitive information safe.”