A report from Consumer Reports and the Aspen Institute points to positive trends in consumers’ attitudes and practices toward digital security, along with ongoing concerns about how their data is handled and evolving views on who bears responsibility for security.
The ”2022 Consumer Cyber Readiness Report” was released today and is based on a national survey of 2,103 U.S. adults conducted June 10-21 by Consumer Reports. It compares with surveys from 2019 and 2020.
The survey found that 88 percent reported “using a strong password to access their home Wi-Fi network,” up from 74 percent in 2019, and 77 percent reported using multifactor authentication, up from 50 percent three years earlier. Promoting use of MFA has been a high priority for the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.
It found that “only 7 percent are very confident that their personal data is private and not distributed without their knowledge,” and that “33 percent believe that the federal government should be most responsible for protecting the online privacy of Americans; 32 percent say companies should be most responsible.”
Seventy-five percent are “at least somewhat concerned” about the privacy of data collected online, the report found. It also examines reasons why consumers are not concerned about their data privacy, led by “it’s just not something I worry about” and followed by never having had any issues related to the security of their data and not having anything worth stealing.
“As consumers have increased their own accountability in staying safe online in recent years, 2022 data showed a decreased percentage of consumers who felt companies held primary responsibility to protect the privacy of consumers and an increase in consumers taking responsibility for their own online privacy,” according to the report.
“Now, equal parts place accountability on companies as they do on the federal government to protect consumers online. In the 2022 survey, individuals who selected ‘other’ commonly voiced accountability be shared equally across the stakeholders listed,” it said.
“The most recent survey shows consumer cybersecurity and privacy practices have improved over the years in many areas, as consumers become more empowered and better equipped to protect themselves and their personal information,” the groups said in a release. “However, consumer concerns indicate needed improvements in a range of everyday technologies. Government, industry, and civil society groups must continue working together to help bridge this divide.”
Craigslist founder Craig Newmark, a former CR board member, commented, “Measuring consumer attitudes on cybersecurity is an important step to understanding how effective efforts across government, industry, and civil society have been in moving us all towards a more empowered and secure democratic society. It also informs where we should spend more time and resources to continue moving in the right direction.”
The report comes as CISA and federal and private-sector partners kick off Cybersecurity Awareness Month under the theme of “See Yourself in Cyber.”
“This October will focus on the ‘people’ part of cybersecurity, providing information and resources to help educate CISA partners and the public, and ensure all individuals and organizations make smart decisions whether on the job, at home or at school – now and in the future,” according to CISA. – Charlie Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org)