American citizens don't trust retailers with their personal data

US consumers are most concerned about the ability of retailers and government departments to protect their personal data, according to a new survey.

The Security Insights survey from Unisys shows that 44 per cent of American respondents are worried that their personal data held by retailers is likely to be breached in the next year, as many consumers seem to be losing trust in retail data security owing to recent high profile breaches.

Concerns about unauthorized access to personal data held by US government agencies is also quite high at 39 per cent, again possibly due to recent high profile breaches. Healthcare and banking organisations fare better in terms of retaining consumers' confidence that their personal data won't be breached in the next year, with only 28 per cent worried about healthcare breaches and 24 per cent about banking.

"Organisations that hold consumers' personal data have a major challenge maintaining public confidence that they safely protect private information," says Dave Frymier, vice president and chief information security officer at Unisys. "While hackers will always find their way into an organisation's network, enterprises can protect high-value data through basic precautions like patching and sharing threat intelligence as well as using advanced security technologies like micro-segmentation".

Americans are less worried about data breaches than those in other countries, however. US respondents had the lowest overall level of concern about likely security breaches among the 12 countries surveyed. For example, nearly twice the percentage of respondents in the Netherlands and Germany thought a breach of their personal data was likely than their counterparts in the US.

Results from the survey also show mixed feelings about the use of biometrics to protect smartphone data, with only 38 believing that it strengthens security. It also shows that men are more likely to use biometrics to protect their devices than women.

The full US report can be downloaded from the Unisys website. Details for other countries will be available soon.

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