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September 15, 2015

81% of Brits fear data has already been stolen

Consumers call for harsher punishments for organisations that fail to detect data breaches sooner.

By James Nunns

High-profile security breaches are causing widespread fear among the UK public.

Recent breaches such as the Ashley Madison hack are leading to a lack of faith in organisations’ ability to prevent and detect cybercrime.

According to 73% of consumers, the time it takes for businesses to realise that sensitive customer data has been lost is unacceptable. This view is causing many to have grave concerns about the existence of breaches that are yet to be discovered.

British consumers (81%) now believe that cybercriminals could have already stolen their data and no one would have realised.

As a result of this pervasive fear, consumers are calling for harsher penalties for businesses that could have prevented or detected a breach sooner.

Customers who have been compromised should be compensated by the organisation holding the data, according to 81% of respondents to the Bit9 + Carbon Black survey.

Over half of people (59%) said that a fine should be levied on organisation, while 40% of those respondents said that fines should be unlimited.

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Some respondents (7%) also want individuals in the organisation to be culpable for their failures, calling for security officers to face jail time.

David Flower, MD, EMEA, Bit9 + Carbon Black, said: "High-profile data breaches at the likes of Target and more recently Ashley Madison have raised public awareness about the risks they are exposed to by the actions of cybercriminals seeking to steal their data.

"Consumers feel that it’s taking organisations far too long to detect a breach; if they can detect it at all, which is putting them at unnecessary risk. The demands for tougher penalties are an eye-opening indication of the way things could be headed if businesses don’t sit up and take note of these concerns."

The research found that 94% of consumers believe that businesses should have the ability to detect the theft of data within 24 hours. Many (47%) think that should be narrowed to a matter of minutes.

The majority (93%) of consumers indicated their support for the mandatory and immediate disclosure of any discovered data breach to both the public and authorities. This is likely to be enforced by the forthcoming EU Data Protection Regulation.

The survey questioned 2,003 British adults between the ages of 16-64.

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