A study by Kaspersky Lab revealed that a majority of Americans are experiencing “cyber stress” when worrying about potential security threats. 81 of respondents in the US, along with 72 of those in Canada, told researchers that hearing about hacks and data breaches were causing them increased stress. 46 percent had at least one cybersecurity incident within the past five years, and of those, 33 percent experienced even stress at having to protect all of their network devices.
As the report illustrates, Americans have been bombarded with news of security breaches and data leaks in recent years. The high-profile nature of many of these cybersecurity incidents has increased visibility into the threats in the digital landscape. This has made the public much more mindful about the areas in their daily lives that contribute to network security, but the increased paranoia and attention to detail has added to cyber stress as well.
Kaspersky found that most people in North America manage at least 16 username and password combinations, and this affected could greatly affect their level of cyber stress depending on their demographic. Respondents between the ages of 16 and 24 experienced the most stress at having to keep track of all of these passwords, with 46 percent saying it caused cyber stress. This arises from many factors affecting the millennial generation, including their perception of technology and cybersecurity as well as the added scrutiny they receive as potential security liabilities in the workplace.
The other side of cyber stress induced from password management is the growing awareness and publicity of the data breach. Additionally, the proliferation of cyber attacks means that many now have a personal connection to a story of a cyber incident – or have been the victim of an attack themselves. Some have experienced multiple such episodes, and even if every one was unsuccessful, the knowledge that cyber attackers are out can cause some level of stress.
77 percent of Americans own at least a smartphone and more than half use tablet computers as well, according to the Pew Research Center. Mobile devices have increasingly targeted by hackers in recent years, due to often being an often overlooked and underdefended attack vector. With cybercriminals employing malware and other methods specifically defined for smartphone operating systems, users have to be extra careful when using mobile devices to browse the Web – which causes more cyber stress.
Very public scandals around data leaks and poor privacy controls have eroded consumer trust in the ability of businesses to protect their data, though the level of which can depend on the industry. Finance, retail and social networks are becoming some of the least trusted sectors, especially when it comes to securing digital information. People are beginning to lose faith in brands which demonstrate an inability to prevent a data breach, no matter who is at fault for causing it.
The growing number of public data breaches has caused an increase rate of stress and suspicion when it comes to sharing data with organizations. Conversely, the Kaspersky report found that almost half of the respondents would trust their significant other with their credentials, while over a quarter were willing to share this information with their parents. The results of the study indicate that consumers see data sharing as a community activity – one that requires a certain level of familiarity and commitment.
Relieve Employee Cyber Stress with SWK Network Services
Cyber stress can affect everyone, including the people who make up your business. While public knowledge of the presence of cybersecurity threats has improved, education on the steps to prevent against them has not kept up at the same pace. SWK can help educate your employees on the best practices for device protection and relieve the stress of managing your network full-time.
Contact SWK to find out how to manage cyber stress in your business with the right network solution.