Consumer Concerns Over Hacking and Tracking on the Rise

In today’s hyper-connected world, consumers are increasingly anxious about the vulnerability of their tech devices. A recent survey reveals that almost 60% of respondents share concerns about potential security breaches and tracking through their devices. 


These apprehensions have surged compared to the previous year, signifying a growing unease.


The survey found that smartphone users, in particular, are on high alert, with 67% expressing concerns about data security and privacy on their devices. Smart home users, who rely on a multitude of IoT devices, share similar fears, with 62% worried about their data security and privacy. Additionally, over half of smart home users are apprehensive about the possibility of unauthorised control over their smart devices, such as smart locks. Even smartwatch and fitness tracker users are not immune, with 48% expressing concerns about data security and privacy.



Data breaches have added a tangible dimension to these fears. With 2021 setting a record for data breaches, followed by even more significant incidents in 2022, it’s no surprise that one-third of survey participants reported experiencing at least one breach or scam in the past year. Interestingly, the probability of a breach increases as households acquire more devices, underlining the urgent need for comprehensive security measures.



In response to these threats, consumers are taking proactive measures to safeguard their data. The survey identified 14 protective actions, such as enabling two-step authentication and installing security software. 79% of respondents reported taking at least one protective action, indicating heightened awareness. Mobile operating systems’ prompts are particularly influential, motivating users to adopt more security measures.



However, many consumers still feel a sense of powerlessness. Twenty-seven believe that companies can track them regardless of their actions, while 17% think hackers can access their data no matter what precautions they take. There’s also a knowledge gap, with 25% unsure about the steps needed for self-protection. Financial constraints are another hindrance, with 18% unwilling to pay for protective software or services.



Furthermore, trust in companies selling devices and online services is eroding. Only 50% of respondents believe the benefits of online services outweigh their data privacy concerns, a 9% decrease from 2021. A mere 41% think that protecting online data has become easier, and just 34% feel companies are transparent about data usage—both reflecting substantial drops from 2021.


Interestingly, 9% of respondents reported buying devices in the past year that don’t track them, indicating a growing demand for privacy-focused products.



Generational disparities in trust are apparent, with younger consumers showing more confidence in online services and a greater willingness to embrace connected tech. Gaining the trust of older consumers will likely require a concerted effort.



In conclusion, consumers across generations are united in their desire for more protection, control over their data, and transparency from companies. The onus is on device makers and service providers to address concerns around hacking, tracking, and data privacy while offering greater transparency and control to consumers. Companies should make data security a mission-critical priority, or risk falling behind competitors that do. Additionally, consumers are increasingly welcoming regulations that enforce data protection, a trend likely to grow in the coming years.

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Consumer Concerns Over Hacking and Tracking on the Rise

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