New research from Kaspersky Lab shows that four-in-five (81%) people believe that everyone has a secret they don’t want to reveal to others, whilst almost nine-in-ten (88%) concede it is very important to be able to maintain one’s privacy. Yet, it is getting more difficult to do so. In today’s increasingly connected world, almost three quarters (73%) admit that keeping secrets private is more important than ever.
It is interesting to note who people keep their secrets from. At least four-in-ten (43%) admit to keeping secrets from their immediate family, with nearly half (46%) of those surveyed admitting to harboring secrets from their circle of friends. Many people dread a secret becoming public. Well over a quarter (31%) of respondents say they would feel violated if a secret was revealed to a close family member. Similarly, 30% would worry that an employer would think badly of them if a certain secret was revealed. In fact, one-in-five (21%) would even fear losing their job.
The ramifications of a secret being revealed online as a result of a personal data privacy breach is increasingly stark: people fear financial ruin, loss of employment, reputational damage, losing friends and even the potential breakdown of a relationship.
Despite the prevalence of high-profile data breaches, less than a third (34%) of respondents say they have strengthened their passwords. In fact, less than half (43%) admit to having up-to-date security protection on all their devices.
“We have become a society built upon digital secrets, with those secrets becoming commoditised and traded on the dark web. However, consumers continue to shun the requisite measures to protect themselves, despite the plethora of high-profile data breaches seemingly happening on a daily basis. Very few of our survey respondents said they have strengthened their passwords, whilst only a small percentage have robust and up-to-date security protection across all their devices. This needs to change if consumers want to keep their digital privacy,” comments David Emm, Principal Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab.
It must be remembered that not all secrets are bad. The majority (85%) of respondents agree that keeping a birthday gift or a surprise birthday party secret can be a positive thing. Similarly, whilst the rise in social media has led to the art of gossiping to reach untold levels, over two thirds (%) of respondents said that if a friend tells them something in confidence, they won’t divulge it to anyone else.
Whether it is a password, your bank account details or a series of photos taken at college, everyone has a multitude of secrets that they need to keep safe.
“In today’s connected world, secrets are spread in real-time. As a result, keeping them is definitely more difficult than it was a few years ago. Because of this, secrets have become more precious – because their loss has become more expensive. Private information is in constant danger of being lost online or through social media,” adds Professor. Dr. Frank Schwab.
To ensure you can maintain your digital privacy, Kaspersky Lab recommends that users:
- Think twice before posting on social media channels and consider the ramifications if something sensitive becomes public knowledge
- Keep their online credentials and passwords to themselves. Sharing them with family or friends could lead to exploitation and cybercriminals accessing personal information
- Adopt robust cybersecurity solutions to comprehensively control and protect their sensitive information. Solutions include Kaspersky Internet Security and Kaspersky Password Manager