A recent survey by Blumberg Capital reveals that a majority of consumers think their IT guys know more about cybersecurity than President Trump. That may be bad news for the president, but it is surely good news for those in the IT field. 

Blumberg Capital, an early-stage VC firm investing in cybersecurity startups, surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults to better understand consumer opinions and understanding of cybersecurity. The Cybersecurity Threats: Consumer Perception & The Path Forwardreport, which was released the day before Valentine’s Day, offered some very interesting insights. For example, the survey revealed that 68% of consumers rank their IT director as more knowledgeable than Donald Trump, despite the president’s claims.

Back in 2016, then-president-elect Trump declared himself well-versed in the field of hacking. “I know a lot about hacking,” he said, “and hacking is a very hard thing to prove, so it could be somebody else.” He added cryptically that he also knows “things that other people don’t know. And so, they cannot be sure of the situation.” Although those comments were in response to allegations of Russian hacking, Trump’s level of cyber knowledge is still viewed as questionable by the majority of those polled.

The survey also revealed that despite the public knowledge of the serious repercussions of cyberattack, most consumers (77%) trust federal and state governments to keep their information private. What’s more, 64% of those polled believe that organizations have learned from the large-scale data breaches of other companies (Facebook, Target, Equifax) and have therefore become more secure and can better protect their sensitive information.

Unfortunately, that trust may not be well-founded. Research shows that cybercriminals are adapting quickly, forcing companies and governments to update their defenses continually. Simply put, cybersecurity managers must know how to prevent, triage, prioritize and solve the latest problems and not rest on their laurels thinking existing protections are enough.

To that end, consumers seem to be more willing to become part of anti-fraud solutions, including allowing organizations to use gathered private data to improve security. Some 62% of respondents said they are comfortable with companies using AI to track their online activity, as long as it helps prevent fraud and to keep their identity secure. Perhaps that willingness is driven by the realization that personal data can be stolen. In fact, some 84% of those polled believe they have a strong understanding of the consequences associated with their personal information being stolen online.

But, the concerns of what happens with that stolen data vary among those who participated in the survey. Consumers seem most concerned with financial loss, with nearly 60% saying their greatest fear is hackers accessing their financial information. The threat of loss of financial information ranked well above personal healthcare information becoming public (14%), political campaigns using data to target and influence their opinions (8%) and paying a ransom if their information is held hostage (6%).

“In 2019 we saw a rising number of major corporations and governments become victims of serious and damaging cyberattacks, including Capital One, the Australian parliament, Citrix and the city of New Orleans,” said David J. Blumberg, founder and managing partner at Blumberg Capital. “Due to the threat magnitude of these data breaches, it’s estimated that global cybersecurity-related spending on hardware, software and services is on track to reach $151.2 billion by 2023. The average cost of cybercrime for an organization is $13 million.”

Ultimately, the survey reveals there is still much work to be done in the cybersecurity realm and that consumers are counting on governments and businesses to get it right regardless of who’s in the Oval Office. 



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