The 2022 Thales Consumer Digital Trust Index: A Consumer Confidence in Data Security Report has revealed that there is a lack of consumer trust across industries to protect their personal data. Based on a survey of more than 21,000 consumers worldwide, the report highlights how global citizens react to data exposures. Both in personal behaviours and in attitudes towards companies that experienced a data breach. This investigated levels of trust consumers place across a wide range of industries, and governments.

 It found that Social Media companies (18%), Government (14%) and Media & Entertainment organisations (12%) all had the lowest level of consumer trust. In contrast, Banking & Finance (42%), Healthcare Providers (37%) and Consumer Technology Companies (32%) were the most trusted by consumers to protect sensitive information.

The levels of trust consumers have across countries when it comes to the security of their personal data also differed. Consumers across Germany (23%), Australia, the UK and France (20%) were the least trusting nations. In comparison, consumers across Brazil (95%), Mexico (92%) and UAE (91%), reported the highest levels of trust. These differences among countries are likely the result of the data protection regulations, such as GDPR, that generate a broader awareness of the right to privacy and lack of trust.

Consumers feel the impact

The report found 82% of consumers worldwide reported a negative impact on their lives following a data breach. Fraudulent use of their financial information (31%), fraudulent use of their Personal Identifiable Information (PII) (25%) and targeted for tailored scams based on their information (25%) being the main impacts. Interestingly, financial fraud was reported the highest across each country, with the only exception being:

  • Germany (PII fraud: 31%)
  • Japan (identity theft: 30%) 
  • UK (tailored scams: 25%)

Consumers protecting themselves

When it comes to protecting themselves, a fifth (21%) of consumers worldwide have stopped using a company that suffered a data breach. One in ten (8%) have taken legal action against a company, with 9% considering it. 

Furthermore, Banking & Financial Services are where the majority of consumers (69%) are likely to spend most of their time adding additional security measures to protect and secure the personal data they store with them. This is followed by securing email communication (54%), social media (48%) and online shopping or ecommerce (44%). Only a third (33%) of consumers spend time implementing additional security measures in healthcare and only a quarter (24%) implement it for travel-related industries.

Actions speak louder than words

Philippe Vallée, Thales’ Executive Vice-President, Digital Identity and Security, comments: “Consumers around the world have shown how important security is to them in digital services and personal data. It is the protection of the system and future users that came out on top of the agenda. Almost twice as many consumers wanted to ensure that the risks of future data breaches were mitigated. This involved implementing better encryption and authentication protocols than receiving large fines. It indicates that they want to see real tangible change when it comes to security practices used.

“It’s clear that there is growing acceptance of the risk and reward to consumers’ own cybersecurity. They are putting more time and emphasis on securing those parts of their online lives that mean the most to them. However, with data continually becoming more valuable, this should serve as only a lesson to those across other industries in practicing and implementing good cyber hygiene.”

Consumers globally agree that better data security measures, such as encryption and user authentication protocols, should be implemented. 54% believe this should be mandatory. This was closely followed by:

  • Compensating victims (53%)
  • Employing specialists to ensure it doesn’t happen again (46%)
  • Being responsible for finding victims data and having it returned (43%)
  • Following more stringent regulation (42%)

Just above three in ten believe that companies receiving a large fine was the lowest priority for them.

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