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Consumers may not trust companies with poor data security

(Image credit: Image Credit: Billion Photos / Shutterstock)

Businesses that demonstrate poor data security practices during the Covid-19 pandemic risk losing more than half of their customers on a permanent basis. This is according to a new report from PCI Pal, designed to establish consumer sentiment during the lockdown.

Polling more than 3,500 people in the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Australia and Canada, the firm found a third of respondents would avoid a company “for years” if it were responsible for exposing their personal data.

Another 30 percent said they would never return, while just one in ten said a data breach would to impact their loyalty to a business.

Consumers in different geographies react differently to the news of a data breach, according to the report. Germans are most likely to never return to a business that has suffered a breach. Spaniards, on the other hand, have grown more wary of cybersecurity threats since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

For Geoff Forsyth, Chief Information Security Officer at PCI Pal, it makes perfect sense for people to be increasingly worried, given the opportunistic nature of cybercriminals.

“Cybercriminals are shamelessly opportunistic and are aiming to capitalise on the remote working situation. Hackers are working around the clock to steal data for profit and therefore consumers are rightfully holding businesses accountable for lax data security practices," he said.

"This means that businesses must meet the highest compliance and security standards if they want to build and maintain customer loyalty during these unprecedented times."

Cybercriminals have employed a handful of different tactics in a bid to take advantage of the lockdown. Attackers have distributed malware via email phishing campaigns, launched assaults against hospitals, stolen Zoom login credentials and created various fake video conferencing tools to skim login credentials and credit card information.