More than 2.6 million people across the UK are unlikely to take any action following a data breach, according to a study. That's around 5% of the population based on sample size projection.
According to research conducted by law firm Simpson Millar, a lack of knowledge is likely to blame for the reluctance to take action in the event of personal data being stolen or lost, with more than half (56%) of those surveyed admitting to being unsure of what action to take.
A data breach is when sensitive or confidential information (such as financial information, passwords, or health records) is accessed by an individual who is not authorised to do so.
The term “data breach” covers everything from millions of records being lost, to a single individual viewing information they should have not seen.
According to the study, just four in ten (39%) UK adults know what to do to secure their data.
A further third (32%) are also unaware of what criminals can do with their data – often leaving them worryingly exposed.
For those unlucky enough to get tangled up in a data breach themselves, criminals can use their stolen data to impersonate them in order to apply for credit cards and loans, make fraudulent purchase, or even transferring funds to their own account.
Hackers may also sell the data they have stolen on the dark web, where other criminals can use it to impersonate someone or access their accounts.
Major companies have also had large data breaches in the past six years. In the UK, there have been weekly incidents, according to the study.
Despite this, many UK consumers are often unaware of large data breaches.
For example, just one in 20 (5%) were aware that popular business messaging platform, Slack, had suffered a data breach.
Equally, just 6% understood that WordPress had been the victim of a data breach; and just 7% of people knew social news site, Reddit, had suffered from a data breach too in the past six years.
Free to use tools such as the data breach checker allow you enter the email address you suspect to be fraudulent to give you instant insight in to any data breach activity related to the contact details.
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