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Personal data stolen online from a fifth of web users

The personal data includes social security number, credit card details and bank account information.

By CBR Staff Writer

There has been a rapid rise in personal data theft, with 18% of adults in the US having had their bank account, security number and credit card details stolen since July 2013, according to research from the Pew Research Center.

However, the number of users who had their social networking account hacked remains the same at 21% despite the reported rise in victims of cybercrime.

The Heartbleed security flaw, which went undetected for more than two years, is the latest bug targeting the vulnerabilities of digital data.

The report added that the scope of the Heartbleed bug is projected to impact about 66% of active websites on the Internet.

Pew Research Center Internet & American Life Project senior researcher Mary Madden said that the consequences of these flaws and breaches may add insult to injury for those who have already experienced some kind of personal information theft.

"And research suggests that young adults and younger baby boomers may have been especially hard hit in the second half of 2013," she said.

The Heartbleed bug is not the first online vulnerability. In December 2013, US retailers Target and Nieman Marcus were hit with massive data breaches affecting millions of customers.

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