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Stolen personal data tops consumer worries

American consumers worry more about their personal data being stolen than their wallet.

This was according to new data from cyber-security and application delivery solutions provider Radware, which reported that 55% of consumers said data theft ranks above the theft of their wallet (23%), car (10%), cell phone (6%), and house keys (6%).

Retailers need to take consumers’ fear of data theft seriously, especially since cyber-attacks significantly impact customer loyalty and a company’s brand reputation. Less than one-in-four (23%) of Americans said they would continue to do business with a brand after a breach. Meanwhile, 10% said they would no longer do business with that organization, and the majority (68%) said they would need to be convinced that the business fixed the security issue before returning.

The good news is that retail executives understand this threat. More than 40% of companies ranked customer loss as the top threat to their business from a cyber-attack. Retail executives in particular view customer loss as the top threat, with more than half (58%) noting that customer loss was top of mind, the study revealed.

“It’s no surprise that data theft ranks so high in the minds of Americans as a major risk,” said Anna Convery-Pelletier, chief marketing officer for Radware. “It’s easy to buy a new car or a new cell phone, but having private data exposed can have permanent consequences for both the consumer and the brand where the breach occurred. When an organization does not properly secure its network, it is putting its brand reputation in jeopardy and risking its customer base.”

Consumers are most concerned about their hackers gaining access to their Social Security Number, booty that hackers buy and sell for around $2. Yet, full medical records can sell for up to $1,000.

Americans were less concerned with the theft of their banking information (18%), credit card number (9%), health records (9%), private cryptocurrency key (4%), passport information (3%), and driver’s license (2%). These types of records and data, which are often traded and sold on the Internet or Darknet, can easily make their way into the hands of malicious actors, the study reported.

“Some of your most private information can be bought and sold on the internet for less than the price of a cup of coffee,” added Convery-Pelletier.

“While Americans don’t realize how much of their personal information might be stored by the businesses they interact with daily, a breach can quickly put consumer identity, credit, and other information at risk,” she said. “The onus is on organizations to invest in the right technology and services to improve their security posture and prevent these massive breaches from happening in the first place.”
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