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Consumers worry more about digital assets than physical ones

Hacking-related threats and other cybersecurity vulnerabilities stand as consumers’ ultimate worry.

Photo: © Digital Journal
Photo: © Digital Journal

What matters most to you – a physical asset or a digital one? Putting aside the exponential growth in non-fungible tokens, there is evidence that humanity’s current preoccupation with digital media can sometime mean more to them than something that is more tangible.

Perhaps this relates to uncertainties when it comes to digital data. Consumers are very aware about data loss, data vulnerability and data theft. In particular, the knowledge level about the existence of scams is high.

Uncertainty enters, however, in terms of appropriate responses. In particular, consumers have trouble understanding how to protect themselves from online threats. Unlike a home, where people can physically lock all entryways to protect themselves, in the cyber world, it is harder to comprehend if a system is secure at any given timepoint.

According to survey data provided to Digital Journal by the company Lookout, hacking-related threats and other cybersecurity vulnerabilities stand as consumers’ ultimate worry.

The survey was based on the views of 1,500 people, who were asked to rank a series of disruptive threats. This led to a rank order, showing the highest concerns to be:

  • Someone Hacking My Bank Account – 30 percent
  • Someone Hacking My Social Media – 15 percent
  • Experiencing A Natural Disaster – 14 percent
  • Getting In A Car Accident – 12 percent
  • Someone Taking Out A Loan In My Name – 10 percent
  • Someone Breaking Into My House – 10 percent
  • Losing My Wallet – 9 percent

The way this survey data is presented, consumers rank having their bank account and social media account hacked as a greater concern than having their home broken into.

The reasoning behind these results is understandable are perhaps associated with the difficulty in comprehending how a person can reliably protect their online identity and their financial information in a world reliant upon digital data.

Taking this concept further, the use of locks, safety alarms, and video doorbells installed in homes helps to make people feel safer; yet consumers do not always feel that these security safeguard exist for devices and online data.

To help consumers protect their social media and banking accounts Lookout recommends consumers need to be on guard against risks and take steps to secure their accounts from compromise.

The types of things that can be done include:

  • Always use strong and unique passwords. If your online account password is ever leaked as part of a data breach, change your password immediately.
  • Enable two-factor authentication (like Google Authenticator) rather than SMS validation to protect your accounts. Two-factor authentication helps protect your account even if your account credentials are compromised or your phone is targeted in a SIM swapping scam.
  • Enable a security service – like Lookout Security & Identity Protection- that will monitor and alert you immediately if your personal and financial information is leaked on the dark web, and provide you with steps to protect your accounts from compromise and your identity from being stolen.

These types of measures can provide increased psychological resilience with consumers and can contribute to reducing ‘digital worry’ when it comes to different types of assets.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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