‘Cyber stress’ affecting two thirds of Europeans

The news of numerous data breaches, along with the pressure to manage multiple online accounts, is causing high levels of stress amongst Europeans, reveals a new report from Kaspersky Lab.

The study of 1,000 Europeans found that 63% of people admit to being stressed by news of data breaches, and 72% said the number of passwords they have to manage is causing them undue stress.

With 70% feeling stressed out when it comes to protecting their devices, 62% said they feel overwhelmed by the amount of sensitive information they have.

59% of consumers expect to experience a cybersecurity issue in the next 12 months, and Kaspersky says they are right to be worried, since 54% said they have been the victim of an issue in the past five years.

“Cyber-crime and the experience of its victims, as reported by the media, makes people more aware of the risks to themselves and, as the threat becomes more prevalent in everyday life, it becomes even easier for people to foresee the impact that a breach or a hack could have on them personally,” said Boris Charpentier, Psychologist and coach.

“This significant increase of the cortisol level as the fear of danger becomes overwhelming leads to stress. Therefore, any type of hack, whether a damaging nation state attack or a company’s data breach, means that feelings of insecurity and vulnerability are heightened as the perfection of a real and imminent danger is exacerbated.”

With increased levels of stress come decreasing levels of trust in organisations and technology to protect data. Kaspersky Lab asked people about which apps they trusted the least when it came to protecting their data from breaches or attacks and the results showed that social networking and messaging apps were the least trusted (32% and 25% respectively). Photo sharing, ride sharing and music apps were more trusted with less than 10% of people saying they would not trust them with their data, despite organisations in these industries having experienced high-profile data breaches.

David Mole, head of Retail Sales at Kasperksy Lab, commented: “Data breaches have become a regular occurrence, and it isn’t just one sector falling foul. Because of this, it is no wonder that customers are hesitant to put their trust in companies, and stress levels are increasing.

“In light of these breaches, people have been forced to consider the amount of information that exists about them online, and whether it is safe from the hands of cybercriminals. If people do not know the measures they must take, they will understandably feel helpless.

“My advice is to take control of your data and mitigate against threats as much as possible by maintaining good cybersecurity behaviour – strong, unique passwords, avoid clicking on unsolicited links, use cybersecurity solutions, avoid unsecured WiFi, and only download apps from trusted sources.”

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