Half of Brits fear they have been a victim of a cyberattack

Consumers place higher expectations on businesses to protect their personal information from cyberattack and update response plans.

More than half of the UK fears their personal information has been compromised from a cyberattack. New research from Experian finds that 54 per cent of people believe they have been the target of fraudulent activity online – up from 39 per cent on last year’s figures.

Experian’s third annual data breach preparedness survey reveals

· A third (36 per cent) of people had to change their password because they feared an online account had been hacked or accessed by someone else
· 13 per cent had been told by a company they hold an account with or are employed by, that their personal details may have been lost or stolen
· 13 per cent had one of their online accounts accessed or used fraudulently by someone else in a cyberattack
· 9 per cent had their personal details used to commit fraud
· 8 per cent had to shut down an online account because of a cyberattack
· 5 per cent said one of the above may have happened but don’t remember the details

Most companies (78 per cent) say they have drawn up plans to react to a breach of their customer’s data, however the findings suggest more could be done to ensure people are kept informed and advised appropriately.

Experian’s research finds

34 per cent of businesses don’t have customer notifications prepared
43 per cent don’t have legal cover, despite the financial implications of suffering a breach
48 per cent don’t have crisis and communications plans in place
84 per cent don’t have forensic analysis – even though regulations coming into force in May next year means organisations may need to provide factual information about what has happened to those affected and regulators

People expect companies to take care of their personal data and will hold them accountable if that information is lost or stolen in a cyberattack. Half (51 per cent) of those surveyed believe it’s the sole responsibility of a company to protect customer data from online theft, while just 9 per cent think it’s their own personal responsibility.

Experian’s Jim Steven says, ‘People are more aware of fraudulent activity and ever so conscious of their personal information falling into the wrong hands. However, it’s not just down to businesses alone, we all have a responsibility to be vigilant and take measures to protect ourselves, online and offline. Simple actions such as using a different password for each of your accounts and enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your accounts.

‘For businesses, it’s clear organisations are waking up to the risks posed by data breaches and the effect it has on their customers. Most companies are now making plans for the worst case scenarios, but it seems many are neglecting fundamental parts of a data breach response and keeping people informed and reassured. A response plan which keeps customers informed and offers them help in protecting their online identity can help to mitigate the damage from a data breach.’

If a company suffers a data breach, their customers expect them to offer support. More than a third (37 per cent) expect web monitoring, while 31 per cent would want credit report monitoring despite just 15 per cent of businesses planning to provide this.

Businesses also need to prepare for an increased level of phone calls and emails from their customers in the days after a data breach. Two-thirds (65 per cent) of people said they would contact the company concerned if their details fell into the wrong hands, although 71 per cent of businesses admitted they may not have the call centre capacity to handle it.

Further reading on protection against cyberattack

Nominations are now open for the British Small Business Awards, the leading event celebrating the brightest stars in the SME sector. Click here to enter, and make sure you get involved today using the hashtag #BSBAwards. Good luck!

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

Related Topics

Cyber Attacks