America's Cyber Security IQ

A new cyber security report paints the cyber reality among Americans today. The study found roughly 60 percent of Americans believe that they have never been cyber-hacked, despite 40 percent of respondents admitting to not being able to recognize a cyber crime unless contacted by a vendor or law enforcement. The national survey by Blumberg Capital, a San Francisco based early-stage venture capital firm (and one of Trulioo’s investors), conducted in association with Researchscape International, asked American adults about cybersecurity and their perception of the biggest cybersecurity issues facing consumers, businesses and the United States government.

Americans are found to be an overly cyber-confident bunch, according to the report. When it comes to cybersecurity risks, the survey revealed Americans believe that their cybersecurity knowledge is superior or equal to American leaders and those with specialized training. Statistics are showing otherwise, when it comes to cyber security risks, [tweet_dis excerpt="Every second, about 12 people online become a victim of #cybercrime -more than 1 million every day"]every second, about 12 people online become a victim of cybercrime - totaling to more than 1 million victims around the globe every day.[/tweet_dis] This means, the likelihood of Americans becoming a victim of cybercrime is increasingly high.

Just over half of respondents (51 percent) cite identity theft as the biggest cybersecurity threat they are most concerned about, and 55 percent believe that their data is not safe with businesses - stating that securing customer information as the top cybersecurity issue for businesses. The report echoes Americans’ current sentiments around the state of cybersecurity today. Privacy continues to be a key concern to Americans, not surprising given revelations made by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden around mass surveillance.

Identity Theft

"It is no surprise that consumers named identity theft as the biggest cybersecurity issue facing them today. We’re living in a post-Snowden era where many people have a heightened awareness towards data privacy,” said Stephen Ufford, CEO & founder, Trulioo. “As a result, it is important for businesses to build a layer of trust and safety on the Internet that meets the data privacy expectations of consumers, while keeping homeland security, and the risks of financial fraud and money laundering activities in check."

Cybersecurity is not just a domestic issue, it is an issue that goes beyond borders, since cyber attacks frequently originate from outside the United States. In fact, Americans, it seems, are very concerned about foreign espionage with 72 percent revealing that they believe it to be the biggest threat to cyber security facing the U.S government. This concern comes after U.S. intelligence community accused Russia of engaging in cyber attacks during the recent U.S. election.

With businesses, government organizations amassing an enormous amount of personal data on consumers, which are now stored online, individuals are being exposed to privacy violations and identity theft should there be a data security breach.

For businesses, the cost of preventing cybercrime is growing. In an annual study of U.S. companies by the Ponemon Institute, on average, the cost of a breach has risen to $4 million per incident—up 29% since 2013. This cost is expected to climb in the coming years.

Without a doubt, decisive and collaborative action between governments, private sector companies, and citizens, must be taken in order to address the growing problem of cybercrime, not only in the United States, but globally.

As David Blumberg, founder and managing partner of Blumberg Capital, says: “Even experts can miscalculate how to mitigate risks and existing security solutions are no longer enough, especially in areas such as IoT or cloud security.”

Sharing intelligence, best practices and taking a multi-faceted approach in combating the problem is key. For example, companies can share ‘watchlists’ containing information on cyber criminals with other companies and the government in order to quickly detect and prevent future attacks. The startup community, in particular, can work together in creating new ways to fight this threat together, protecting and upholding privacy and civil liberties. All of us - you and me, and society as a whole has a key part to play in fighting against the dark forces in this global cybercrime era.