The biannual survey of consumers in nine countries, including 1,005 from the United States, found that 65 percent of American respondents were "seriously concerned" about unauthorized access or misuse of their personal information. Meanwhile, 47 percent said they were seriously concerned about H1N1 and 43 percent about their ability to meet essential financial obligations, the study found.
The survey was conducted by Lieberman Research Group from Sept. 11 to 13.“It's kind of amazing,” Mark Cohn, vice president for enterprise security at Unisys, provider of IT solutions and services, told SCMagazineUS.com on Monday. “They are more concerned about systems being penetrated and their data being shared than anything else.”
Recent headlines about celebrities' records being improperly accessed and data breach notifications have likely increased the public's awareness of the issue, David Ting, chief technology officer for authentication and access management vendor Imprivata, told SCMagazineUS.com on Monday.
Last year, for example, it was discovered that hospital employees snooped on the medical records of Britney Spears, Farrah Fawcett and California First Lady Maria Shriver.
In addition, according to the Unisys Security Index, Americans are just as concerned about the threat of credit or debit card fraud as they are with national security in relation to the war on terrorism. Both threats garnered serious concern from 64 percent of respondents.
Also, most survey respondents said they were at least somewhat concerned about government and financial institutions' abilities to protect their personal information. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said they were concerned about the government's ability to keep their information secure.
On the financial side, 71 percent of respondents were concerned about their service providers' abilities to keep their information secure.