Data Privacy Day guest post from Matt Powell Editor at Broadband Genie

This January 28th is Data Privacy Day, an event aimed at promoting safe internet use and the protection of personal information. This is an issue that was in the news a great deal throughout 2015 thanks to a number of high profile incidents like the Ashley Madison, Sony and TalkTalk hacks.

Toward the end of last year Broadband Genie ran a survey about online privacy and data security to discover how safe people felt online. A positive outcome was that the vast majority are using some kind of security software, only 15% say they’ve had personal data exposed by a leak or hack and only 12% say they’ve fallen victim to an online scam.

While major hacks make for big headlines and can be enormously damaging to those who are affected it’s also something which, for now, only impacts a minority. This can be partly attributed to a combination of the wider use of security software, better security on the part of organisations and a growing awareness of the dangers. 77% of those who responded to our poll said they feel the internet is becoming more dangerous, though 65% also said they feel safe online.

The risk of becoming a victim of a security breach is increasing as the internet becomes ever more integrated into our lives. That’s why sites like Ashley Madison or organisations like TalkTalk are so attractive to hackers. They can harvest an enormous amount of personal information which can be used for anything from simple troublemaking to blackmail and fraud.

This is a major concern for every company that holds any sort of private information. A hack or data leak can have huge repercussions, both in terms of reputation and finances. Research into the TalkTalk hack has claimed that there’s “no doubt” that the hack lost them customers, with 7% switching to a different ISP in the last quarter of 2015. In some cases bankruptcy has been directly attributed to hacking – the Dutch certificate authority DigiNotar went under following a hack in 2011. They will not be the last.

IT security and data protection is something every company must take seriously, no matter how small. And it’s not just about preventing an incident, it’s vital to have an idea of what should be done in the event of an attack. Our survey asked if people would continue to use a service if personal data was exposed; 41% said no but 57% said it would depend on the affected company’s response. Even if you cannot prevent a hack, knowing how to manage it and come out the other side intact is going to be ever more important in the future.

Please see full survey at:- https://www.broadbandgenie.co.uk/blog/20151009-online-safety-survey

Matt Powell
Editor at Broadband Genie