April 16, 2014

Pew data: 18% of Americans report breaches

April 17, 2014 – The Pew Research Center says more Americans are experiencing personal data breaches, with the number of "online adults" affected rising from 11 percent in July to 18 percent this January.

The January survey also found that 21 percent of adults using the Internet have had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over without their permission; the same percentage reported this experience in the 2013 survey.

Pew, announcing its findings, also cited the recent discovery of the "Heartbleed" security flaw and the massive data security breaches at Target and Nieman Marcus as causes for continued concern.

"The consequences of these flaws and breaches may add insult to injury for those who have already experienced some kind of personal information theft," Pew wrote. "And research suggests that young adults and younger baby boomers may have been especially hard hit in the second half of 2013."

The survey found that people between the ages of 50 and 64 were "significantly more likely to report that they had personal information stolen" – 20 percent of people in that age group reported theft in January, up from 11 percent in July. The survey also found that 55 percent of respondents were concerned about their personal information being online, up from 33 percent in July.

NAFCU has been pushing Congress to implement national data security standards for retailers in order to better protect consumers from the growing number of data breaches.