While Personal Cyber Risk Protection Improved, Poor Cybersecurity Behaviors Continue

Survey shows more people are taking concrete steps to safeguard their personal information and data from cyber-attacks but poor cybersecurity behaviors persist.

Source: Chubb | Published on November 11, 2022

Cyber threats

For the first time, the Chubb annual cyber risk study discovers that more people are taking concrete steps to safeguard their personal information and data from cyber-attacks. While progress is encouraging, according to the 2022 survey, poor cyber-security behaviors are still far too common.

Dynata conducted the Chubb Fifth Annual Study on Personal Cyber Risk, which is based on a public opinion poll of 1,605 adults in the United States and Canada.

People are getting better at protecting themselves from cyber risks, according to key findings. More than half of Americans and Canadians (51%) reported using multi-factor authentication to log into their online accounts in 2022, which is more than double the level found in the 2021 survey. Furthermore, nearly 80% of respondents say they prefer multi-factor authentication. Adoption of practices such as clearing browser histories on a regular basis and using password protection apps, pop-up blockers, and malware protection has also increased significantly since 2021.

People struggle to remember their passwords and are irritated when they have to change them. Three-fifths (61%) of people have difficulty remembering their passwords. A similar proportion (63%) is irritated when they are forced to change their passwords.

Pet passwords continue to be popular. The good news is that three out of every four people have updated their primary bank account password in the last 12 months, and 70% have voluntarily updated a password for a digital account without being required to do so by the provider. The bad news is that half of those polled still include their pet’s name or another identifiable name or date in their new password. Almost 85% of high-net-worth Americans and Canadians use identifiable terms or dates in their passwords, which is more than three times the rate of middle-income respondents (27%).

A cyber-attack involving money is most likely to target the wealthy. In the previous year, nearly 30% of high-net-worth respondents reported being the victim of a cyber-attack involving their money. This is twice the national average and seven times the frequency reported by middle-income respondents. Affluent and high net worth consumers were twice as likely as middle-class consumers to have fraudulent charges made on their credit card.

“Our fifth annual report on personal cyber risk tells a compelling story: cyber threat awareness and concern are high and growing. At the same time, people are irritated and frustrated by the actions they must take to protect themselves online. Fortunately, the gap between awareness and action has begun to close “Ana Robic, Division President, Chubb North America Personal Risk Services, shared her thoughts. “While progress is encouraging, risky behaviors remain all too common. Individuals and families should remain vigilant in defending themselves against cyber threats and be aware that there are risk management solutions available to assist in the event of a personal cyber incident.”

Other findings include:

People are concerned about devastating cyber-attacks. Americans and Canadians are concerned about the possibility of large-scale cyber-attacks causing widespread damage and chaos. Almost nine in ten (87%) are concerned about a significant cyber-attack on the US power grid. The threat of a cyber-attack waged by a hostile foreign country (85%) and cyber-attacks on a nuclear power plant, chemical factory, or water supply (84%) are both feared by large majorities.

People are convinced that their devices are listening in on them. Four out of every five people (79%) believe their virtual assistants and streaming devices can listen in on their conversations. Another 11% are undecided. Furthermore, two out of every three respondents (67%) believe they have received an advertisement based on a conversation captured by a virtual assistant or streaming device. People who are wealthy and affluent are more likely to believe this.

Personal cyber insurance is becoming increasingly popular. Approximately two-fifths (39%) of people currently have personal cyber insurance. This coverage is much more likely to be available to wealthy consumers. However, an equal number of people are unfamiliar with personal cyber insurance, with 19% unaware of the protections that personal cyber coverage provides individuals and families.

People recognize that not all cyber risks are created equal. 90% of respondents believe their primary bank’s app is secure. This is significantly higher than the percentages for personal finance (68%) and peer-to-peer payment apps (70%). Other app categories cited in the survey, such as social media (48%), fitness (48%), and online dating (40%), have less than half of consumers confident in their security. A related finding: consumers are most concerned about the loss of their financial information. More than half (53%) say the most concerning type of breach is a breach of their financial information.

About the Survey

This is Chubb’s fifth survey of consumer attitudes and behaviors toward cyberspace in the United States and Canada. Dynata, a leading global provider of first-party consumer and professional data, conducted the online survey. From August 29 to September 19, 2022, the survey was conducted in the United States and Canada. The findings are based on 1,605 interviews that were completed. Respondents were required to be 18 years of age or older, have a minimum household income of $50,000, and use at least one internet-connected device to be eligible for the study.