A third (34%) of Brits admit that they have given up following cyber security best practice because it feels like an impossible task, according to new research from Thales. The research, which surveyed over 2,000 UK citizens, found an alarming level of consumer apathy when it came to keeping themselves safe online.
This apathy is closely tied to feelings of confusion, futility, and information overload. Over half (51%) expressed their struggle to grasp rapid advancements in technology and the implications on their own personal security.
This research has been carried out by Thales in line with Cyber Security Awareness Month, and highlights how far security education needs to go in order to enable a secure interconnected world.
The findings shone a spotlight on a lack of consumer understanding about some of the biggest cybersecurity issues of the moment. For example, over a fifth (22%) admitted that they had no clue about the significance of where in the world their data is stored.
This directly translates into a fifth (20%) expressing zero concern about where companies store their personal data – despite issues of data sovereignty continuing to plague businesses.
Confusion Leading to Carelessness
This lack of awareness is also causing Brits to willingly sign away their data. Nearly half (47%) of respondents confessed to signing terms and conditions without a thorough reading, further exacerbating the potential risks to their own data privacy.
Alarmingly, 57% of participants voiced suspicions that companies intentionally employ convoluted language within terms and conditions to obscure the extent to which individuals inadvertently relinquish their personal data.
Back to Basics
While the research pointed towards the growing complexities that are causing confusion – consumers are also still struggling to get the basics right.
Despite the well-publicised risks to data, well over half (56%) admitted that they always accept cookies on websites due to ease – highlighting that user experience tends to trump security.
In addition, just over two fifths (44%) currently use multi-factor authentication across all their online accounts – despite this being one of the easiest ways to protect your identity online.
Commenting on the research, Chris Harris, EMEA Technical Director, Thales said “The problem isn’t necessarily an awareness issue, in fact there’s almost too much awareness of how to keep yourself safe that the public are feeling overwhelmed. This fatigue is causing cyber best practice to wane. However, companies need to take this into consideration and factor into how they communicate with customers around how to keep their data safe.
“While industry-specific terms like ‘digital sovereignty’, ‘data compliance’, and ‘third-party cookies’ may be commonplace within the IT industry, they tend to alienate the broader consumer population. Consequently, a crucial question arises: how can individuals protect themselves from threats they don’t understand? This conundrum is pertinent this Cyber Security Awareness Month, and should force businesses to rethink how to best foster a safer digital environment.”