Key Findings from our Survey on Identity Theft, Family Safety and Home Network Security

The world is connecting to the internet now more than ever before. As a result, the popularity of connected devices has changed the way we live our lives – in particular, the way we handle our personal information. To get a sense of consumers’ habits and attitudes around the digital landscape, McAfee surveyed 6,400 people globally for its study, New Security Priorities in An Increasingly Connected World. The survey reveals what consumers’ security focuses and concerns are as we move into 2018.

Data breach concerns are high, but action is minimal

It’s no secret that the plethora of recent data breaches and malware attacks have put the personal information and identities of millions of Americans at risk. Many are feeling that they have a lack of control over their personal information (43% of those surveyed, in fact). And another 33% rank protecting their identity as their number one cybersecurity priority ahead of protecting privacy, connected devices, data, and connected home devices.

However, even though consumers are concerned about their personal information and identity, only 37% of individuals use an identity theft protection solution, and 28% have no plans to sign up for an ID theft protection solution. This is all in spite of the fact that 61% of respondents are more concerned about cybersecurity than they were 5 years ago.

So, out of those surveyed – how many are proactive about protecting their identity, and how do they do it? The most common way respondents aim to prevent identity theft is to check online bank accounts for unauthorized charges or withdrawals (67%). 43% of those surveyed check social media for fraudulent activities like posts on social media that were not created by them , and 37% use credit monitoring services. Shockingly, 15% claimed to take no specific action at all.

Keeping your family safe online

The concerns around personal data apply to kids too, as today’s children are practically glued to their phones and tablets, and often don’t inform their parents about who they are talking to, where they are going online and what they are posting.

In fact, almost one third of parents do not monitor their child’s connected device usage, and only 44% keep devices in their possession and let their child use the device when they can be monitored. But the reality is, 40% of parent respondents discovered that their children have accessed a website that they do not approve of, while only 26% of said parents use software to monitor their child.

Protecting your home

Though survey respondents are most concerned about their personal data, and that of their children’s, their focus also extends to the very homes they live in. With the boom of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the home network is being asked to handle more devices than ever before.

And it’s becoming harder to manage for the owners of those devices. 52% of respondents were either unsure or had no idea how to check to see if their connected devices and apps are secured. The biggest worry among respondents about having their wireless home network hacked is that cybercriminals could steal personal information and make them a victim of identity theft (63%). A total of 17% of those surveyed say they have never considered the implications of their network being hacked.

How to stay protected

So, if you have a few of these concerns on your mind, fear not – there’s steps you can take to stay protected. Start by following these :

  • Review your account info. Regularly reviewing online bank/credit account transactions can help you spot suspicious activities or purchases. If you do stumble upon something fishy, be sure to report it to your bank or credit institution immediately.
  • Start the conversation early and get access. For parents, it’s imperative to start talking to children about online safety at an early age. You can start with simple rules like “stay away from people you don’t know in “real life” or “don’t open emails from strangers.”
  • Consider using identity theft protection. An identity theft protection service can monitor your accounts, alert you of potential problems, insure you against ID theft, and help you regain your money and credit if you are a victim of fraud.

And, of course, stay on top of the latest consumer and mobile security threats by following me and @McAfee_Home on Twitter, and ‘Like’ us on Facebook.


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