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People and data privacy: The insights (and contradictions)

02 Jul 2019
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According to a recent study from security firm Kaspersky, data privacy is becoming such a major concern for people around the world that more than a third (38%) would give up their social media lives to make sure their data remains private for the rest of their lives.

Although more people are picking up mobile phones, 19% would also give up their phones in order to guarantee their data privacy.

At first glance, it might seem that the 11,887 people from 21 countries polled for the survey are savvy about their privacy – 25% say they cover their webcams to keep their data private.

On the other hand, 39% of people would take money in exchange for giving a stranger complete access to their private data online… so maybe people aren’t so privacy-savvy after all.

That’s despite almost half (46%) reporting that their private data had been accessed without their permission.

While stories of people giving up social media often pop up, Kaspersky believes that people are now more concerned about keeping their information safe than ever before.

Two-thirds (62%) password protect their devices to keep information private; and 68% try to use only strong passwords. 

A third (35%) regularly check and change privacy settings on devices, services and apps they use (rising to 42% of 16-24 year olds and dipping to just 28% of the over 55s).

Kaspersky senior security research Noushin Shabab explains:

"Several years ago, people shared their private information with social media services in exchange for various benefits, without even thinking about the potential threats and their consequences. With a rising number of data leaks around the world, we are seeing a new trend amongst consumers. 

“While many prefer not to have certain facts about themselves revealed in public, the majority still don't know how to protect their digital privacy and would give up social media to guarantee their information remains secure.” 

The survey found that 72% of respondents were concerned about other people knowing their sexual orientation, and that they would rather keep it a secret when online.

“Keeping personal information safe by regularly updating social media account passwords and using security solutions will give consumers more confidence in the security of their data online,” says Shabab.

In order to keep your digital privacy safe, Kaspersky recommends following some simple steps:

•    Regularly check your media privacy settings and choose strong passwords.
•    Don't open or store unfamiliar files as they could be malicious.
•    Don't be fooled by suspicious people promising valuables in exchange for your personal data.
•    Start using reliable security solutions including utilities that minimise the risks of privacy violation.