Is cyber space safe?
That was the question on everyone’s minds heading into 2017 amid concerns about personal data and how well it’s protected. In last year’s election alone, Russia’s alleged hacking efforts, as well as the security of email servers, became hot-button topics. Internet titan Yahoo’s users also experienced significant data breaches, and various hacks of celebrities’ phones exposed their personal photos.
But stars and politicans weren’t the only ones at risk. A Pew Research Center survey released Thursday found that a whopping 64 percent of Americans have been victim to some form of a “major data breach” and in turn do not trust the federal government or social media sites to protect their personal information.
The results, which stemmed from the responses of 1,040 American adults, might seem startling at first, but Pew broke that 64 percent down across a number of ways that personal data can make its way to into unwanted places. Some 41 percent of Americans have found fraudulent charges on their credit cards, 35 percent have had sensitive information like account numbers “compromised,” another 16 percent claim their email account was hijacked by someone else and 13 percent said they lost control of their social media accounts.
Furthermore, 15 percent have dealt with breaches to their Social Security number, and 14 percent claimed another person tried to take out a loan or open a new credit card account in their name.