New survey data from hardware security provider suggests consumer cybersecurity practices need improvement

Entrust, an Entrust Datacard company and provider of trust, integrity and control for business-critical information and applications, declares 2020 the “Year of Encryption.” Entrust surveyed over 1,000 American adults to understand more about their thoughts on personal and digital security practices, as well as their plans into the new year. The data supports defining 2020 as the “Year of Encryption,” stemming from greater interest in – and awareness of – digital security.

Against a backdrop of national and international dialogue around security, nearly a quarter of respondents (24.3%) say that they already update their passwords once a month or more, while some 72.1% say that they plan to update their passwords and practice better personal security habits in 2020. However as one in four (25%) Americans say they plan to use the current year as part of their password update, there’s still more education required as this is a tactic that can easily be guessed by hackers.

The survey findings illustrate that today more than ever, American consumers need to become more educated about cybersecurity and take proactive steps to protect themselves from ever-present cyber threats. Generally speaking, people are unsure about where they stand and have trust issues around personal data sharing, even when it comes to well-known online brands. Entrust found that:

  • Only half of Americans (53.3%) know their online privacy rights
  • Americans trust Google the most in terms of encrypting personal data
  • LinkedIn is the most distrusted company around data encryption

Cybersecurity awareness becomes a market influencer

However, Americans are making a number of resolutions to improve their cybersecurity posture for 2020, factoring security and encryption considerations into the technologies that they buy and use on a daily basis. A majority of survey respondents (53.3%) said encryption and security influence their purchase decision-making, while more than 30% say they have stopped using services from a company due to personal data concerns.

According to Peter Galvin, CMO, Digital Security of Entrust Security, “While there are meaningful knowledge gaps around security issues and encryption, many consumers are paying greater attention and starting to take security very seriously, moving quickly to take appropriate precautions. The need for additional security is particularly apparent around emerging technologies like cloud, IoT, blockchain, and digital payments, and that is where hardware security solutions like ours can take a prominent role in 2020 and beyond.”

The public has developed an increasing awareness of the need for cybersecurity efforts designed to combat terrorism and other threats to our nation’s safety and security. Yet they remain somewhat divided on whether U.S. law enforcement should be able to hack into the systems or devices of criminals and/or terrorists. When asked about breaking encryption to access data to help with criminal cases:

  • 26.5% said “yes” in all circumstances
  • 26% said “yes” but only for criminal cases
  • 14% said “yes” but only for cases that involve domestic and international terrorism

Greater regulation on the horizon

2020 will also see the rise of new cybersecurity regulations that will affect businesses and consumers alike. Businesses will step up their strategies to ensure compliance with the 2020 California Consumer Privacy Act, and U.S. lawmakers on Capitol Hill have re-energized a push for encryption backdoors, an initiative that is seeing bipartisan support. Organizations with an international presence will need to maintain compliance with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) requirements, while determining how Brexit will impact existing rules and regulations governing the storing and sharing of sensitive data. All of this will lead to more discussion and debate of the topic – on a global stage – in 2020 than ever before.

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