SecurityBrief New Zealand logo
New Zealand's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Over a quarter of people have had data breached - survey

By Shannon Williams
Tue 22 Feb 2022

A new Proton survey has explored online data protection habits and how common data breaches are.

As an organisation building an internet where privacy is the default, the team at Proton are always interested in how people protect themselves and their data online, the company says. ProtonVPN asked 1,000 randomly selected people over the age of 16 questions about their online habits to reveal what the average US citizen is doing to secure their online data.

The survey results indicate just how common data breaches are, which data people are most concerned about being exposed, as well as the level of protection individuals use to keep their information safe.

Key findings from the survey below are:

Gmail is the most common email provider, but iCloud is popular among people under 25

The survey asked respondents which email provider and internet browsers they used most.

Gmail came out on top as the most popular email provider, with 73.71% of respondents using a Gmail account.

Apple's email service, part of the iCloud suite, was the fourth most popular overall. However, the results showed a sharp increase in iCloud accounts within the 16 to 24-year-old age bracket (over 18% had an iCloud account compared to under 10% of those above this age range), signalling a conspicuous appeal to the younger generation.

When evaluating email service providers, it's important to consider their track record as well as the protections they have in place. Some email providers, such as Yahoo and Outlook, have suffered major data breaches. Other email providers, such as Gmail, have a good security record but scan your emails, track your purchasing habits, and share access to your messages with third parties. And, unfortunately, none of these popular providers, including Apples email service, offer end-to-end encryption or zero-access encryption.

ProtonMail uses zero-access encryption on all emails so that it cannot read your messages, meaning no third parties can read them either. It also means that even if there were a data breach, your messages would remain secure.

Most providers do now offer two-factor authentication for their logins, and you should always use this security measure. However, 2FA by itself wont always be enough to protect your account, depending on the type of breach. It also cannot prevent your provider from selling or sharing your data. For amore private email experience, you need to use an encrypted service, such as ProtonMail, that protects all messages.

For internet browsers, Google Chrome came out on top with 63.45% of people using Chrome as their day-to-day browser, while Safari came second with 26.29% of people using Apple's chosen browser as their main search provider.

Many people use Big Tech services simply because they come preinstalled on their devices or offer name recognition and speed. Yet these services are built on a business model of exploiting your data for advertising purposes, which is at odds with privacy. This is especially true with browsers, which is why using alternative services that minimise data collection is the best way to find what you are looking for while handing over the least amount of information.

72% of people admit to using public WiFi networks without adequate security measures, despite privacy warnings

Though many may feel they are as careful as possible with their online security, do we give this as much thought when we are on our phones or on the move?

Chances are, when you have been out grabbing dinner, on holiday, or working from a coffee shop, you have logged into a public WiFi network. Our survey revealed that over 72% of people use public WiFi networks, despite the risks they pose to your privacy.

These WiFi networks often will make you agree to terms and conditions that allow them to monitor your browsing and link to your email so that they can sell that data to advertisers.

Having a trustworthy VPN running on your device can help with this issue, as the VPN encrypts your data, preventing the network operator from monitoring your online browsing.

Over a quarter of people surveyed had their data exposed in a breach

As part of the survey, Proton additionally asked respondents to enter their main email address into a website calledhaveibeenpwnd.com. This website is free to use and checks whether an email address has been exposed in an online breach.

Our survey found that 25.8% of people have had their data exposed in a breach online at least once. Over 10% hadnt even realized this was the case before checking for the survey.

The website also checks if your email address has been subject to a paste. Pasting is a type of data breach where hackers copy and paste personal information, such as email addresses, names, passwords, and so forth, on specific websites, like PasteBin. This makes it much easier for others to obtain and share a persons data. 20% of people who took part in our survey found that their personal information had been subject to pastes.

Proton asked respondents to specify the type of information they found being exposed the most. Three kinds of data were especially common:

Email Addresses (57.19%) Passwords (38.36%) Usernames (33.22%)
The survey also asked respondents to specify the type of companies that had been breached. The social media industry had the highest percentages of people affected by a data breach (42.12%), followed by gaming (25%) and tech-based websites (20.55%).

Unfortunately, there isn't much anyone can do when an external company suffers a data breach. People trust that a company or website has as much security in place as possible to keep their online data safe. This is not always the case, and even companies with high security levels have suffered large data breaches.

Most large social media platforms have suffered data breaches, including Facebookin 2019 andTikTok, Instagram, and Youtube, where the information of millions of users has been exposed. In this case, there is nothing more these individuals could have done to protect their data.

If people are worried about their information being exposed from websites such as social media, sharing as little personal data as possible on these accounts will reduce the amount of data at risk in any potential breach.

82% of people are concerned about having their personal data exposed in a breach, but less than 21% would change their online habits
The team at ProtonVPN wanted to find out not just what information has been exposed online, but ultimately what information people are most concerned about being exposed.

The survey revealed that the three types of information people are most concerned about being exposed in a breach are:

Bank details (54%) Passwords (43.53%) Physical addresses (18.13%)

Overall, 82% of people admitted to being worried about having their information exposed in online data breaches.

However, when Proton asked the same survey respondents about the precautions they take to protect themselves and their data online, their responses did not match this level of concern:

Less than 23% of people said they read privacy policies to ensure their data will not be sold to third parties. Less than 20% of people said they have two-factor authentication (2FA) set up on all accounts, which keeps your accounts safe if your password is stolen or exposed.

Moreover, when asked after taking the survey whether they plan to do anything more to keep themselves protected online, only 20.82% said they plan to do so.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Bitdefender, Cohesity, Fortinet & MODIFI
We round up all job appointments from June 27-30, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Juniper study reveals top AI trends in APAC region
Juniper's research shows an increase in enterprise artificial intelligence adoption over the last 12 months is yielding tangible benefits to organisations.
Story image
Research
New study reveals 51% of employees using unauthorised apps
The research shows that 92% of employees and managers in large enterprises want full control over applications, but they don't have it.
Story image
Microsoft
Digital innovation could shape the future of NZ - Microsoft
With cloud technologies available to more people around the world than ever before, it is not only businesses who will benefit from using them.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Blasé attitudes to cybersecurity by business a national risk
The largely unregulated state of cybersecurity in NZ, and consequential ambivalence of most businesses, risk hurting the country's trading prospects.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Threat actors ramp up their social engineering attacks
As people get better at identifying potential threats in their inbox, threat actors must evolve their methods. Their new M.O? Social engineering.
Story image
Cloudera
Overcoming hybrid and multi-cloud challenges to drive innovation
Driven by improvements in technology, financial services companies have advanced both internal and external systems and processes, with the likes of digitisation, personalisation and risk management redefining the industry.
Story image
Manufacturing
Sternum joins NXP, collaborates on IoT security and observability
Sternum has announced it has joined the software partner community of NXP Semiconductors, a manufacturer of and large marketplace for embedded controllers.
Story image
Secure access service edge / SASE
Cloudflare adds new capabilities to zero trust SASE platform
New features for Cloudflare One include email security protection, data loss prevention tools, cloud access security broker, and private network discovery.
Story image
Revenue
Datacom announces revenue of $1.45 billion, fall in profit
Growing market pressures and border closures saw Datacom place increased focus on talent development initiatives for both existing and future employees.
Story image
Gartner
Gartner's top recommendations for security leaders
"Leaders now recognise that major disruption is only one crisis away. We can’t control it, but we can evolve our thinking, philosophy, program and architecture.”
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zscaler launches co-located data centres in Canberra and Auckland
The investment will offer public and private sector enterprises greater resilience in support of their zero trust cybersecurity posture.
Story image
Compliance
Stock security features inadequate in face of rising risk
"Organisations must proactively find ways of identifying unseen vulnerabilities and should take a diligent, holistic approach to cybersecurity."
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Abnormal Security finds financial supply chain under threat
New research by Abnormal Security has found a rising trend in financial supply chain compromise as threat actors increasingly impersonate vendors.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Aqua Security, CIS create software supply chain security guide
Aqua Securityand the Center for Internet Security have together released the industry’s first formal guidelines for software supply chain security.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Cybersecurity priorities for digital leaders navigating digital transformation
In recent years, Asia-Pacific has especially been a hotspot for cyberattacks, and as we continue into 2022, it’s evident that the problem is becoming more significant.
Story image
Internet of Things
Domino's Pizza: A blueprint for secure enterprise IoT deployment
Increasingly, organisations are embracing smart technologies to underpin innovations that can enhance safety and productivity in every part of our lives, from industrial systems, utilities, and building management to various forms of business enablement.
Story image
Cloud Security
Palo Alto Networks bolsters cloud native security offerings
Latest Prisma Cloud platform updates help organisations continuously monitor and secure web applications with maximum flexibility.
Story image
Trend Micro
5G network projects driven by improving security and privacy
Trend Micro's new study reveals the prospect of improved security and privacy capabilities are the main motivations behind private 5G wireless network projects.
Story image
WatchGuard Technologies
Ransomware volume doubled 2021 total by end of Q1 2022
Ransomware detections in the first quarter of this year doubled the total volume reported for 2021, according to a new report. 
Story image
Internet of Things
ManageEngine wins big in IDC MarketScape assessment
ManageEngine's Endpoint Central service has been recognised as a leader by IDC MarketScape in several categories including Internet of Things device deployments and UEM software for SMEs.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - ActiveCampaign, Arcserve, LogRhythm & Qlik
We round up all job appointments from June 17-22, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Network Security
Netskope announces zero trust network access updates
Customers can now apply zero trust principles across a range of hybrid work security needs, including SaaS, IaaS, private applications, and endpoint devices.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Vulnerable APIs costing businesses billions every year
Large companies are particularly vulnerable to the security risks associated with exposed or unprotected APIs as they accelerate digital transformation.  
Story image
Cybersecurity
Significant security concerns resulting from open source software ubiquity
"The risk is real, and the industry must work closely together in order to move away from poor open source or software supply chain security practices."
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Digital Transformation
What CISOs think about cyber security, visibility and cloud
Seeking to uncover the minds of CISOs and CIOs across Asia Pacific, my company recently asked Frost & Sullivan to take a snapshot of cloud adoption behaviour in the region.
Story image
Amazon Web Services / AWS
Zscaler, AWS accelerate onramp to the cloud with zero trust
Zscaler has announced an extension to its relationship with Amazon Web Services, as well as innovations built on Zscaler's Zero Trust architecture.
Story image
Collaboration
IT and security team collaboration crucial to data security
Many IT and security decision makers are not collaborating as effectively as possible to address growing cyber threats.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ingram Micro launches vendor-backed security program
Ingram Micro has unveiled a new program intended to give resellers the effective offerings their customers need to stay safe in the evolving threat landscape.
Story image
Identity and Access Management
Ping Identity launches corporate venture capital fund
Ping Identity has launched a corporate venture capital fund to foster innovative offerings for the identity security market.
Story image
MSP
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from CyberArk
Olly Stimpson joins us today to discuss the importance of MSP programmes and how MSP partners are experiencing success with CyberArk.
Story image
Ransomware
Secureworks reveals new information on BRONZE STARLIGHT threat group
New research from Secureworks has uncovered new information on the Chinese threat group BRONZE STARLIGHT and how they are using targeted ransomware to initiate complicated attacks.
Story image
Phishing
Online identity theft is rising in NZ - here’s what to do about it
It may start with a few stolen details online, but it could end with thousands of dollars missing or worse, a reputation down the drain.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Zero trust security adoption rises 27% in just two years
A survey of WAN managers has revealed that multi-factor authentication and single sign-on are the top zero trust features implemented.
Story image
Cybersecurity
FIDO Alliance releases guidelines for optimising UX with FIDO Security Keys
The new guidelines aim to accelerate multi-factor authentication deployment and adoption with FIDO security keys.
Story image
Cyber Criminal
Identity and access: the fight is on
Blue team defenders are used to protecting our data, applications, and users with access controls and other security mechanisms, which is why attacks like this are especially challenging when they target identity and access control systems.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
HP Inc
Firmware attacks significant threat in age of hybrid work
Changing workforce dynamics are creating new challenges for IT teams around firmware security, according to new research.
Story image
API
Industry-first comprehensive risk-based API security enhances protection
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have become a crucial part of operating web and mobile application businesses and are causing significant economic growth in the digital sector.
Story image
Vendor
Forescout reveals top vulnerabilities impacting OT vendors
Forescout’s Vedere Labs has disclosed OT: ICEFALL, naming 56 vulnerabilities affecting devices from 10 operational technology vendors.
Story image
Oracle Cloud
Commvault, Oracle to deliver Metallic Data Management as a Service
"We are excited to partner with Commvault and enable our customers to restore and recover their most mission-critical cloud data."