Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

People Are More Freaked Out by Hacking Than Tracking, Survey Finds

When asked to choose which is more important to them, protecting their personal information online or protecting their online behavior, respondents to a recent survey said hacking is a bigger concern than tracking.

Shutterstock/Adam Gregor

Some 75 percent of those surveyed said they are worried about hackers stealing their personal information, while 54 percent are worried about their browsing history being tracked by advertisers.

That’s according to interviews with 1,000 American voters in November commissioned by the Computer and Communications Industry Association and conducted by Benenson Strategy Group and American Viewpoint.

When asked to choose which is scarier, respondents almost unanimously chose getting hacked.

At least half of the people said they or someone they know had their email breached, they or someone they know had received a suspicious email from someone who was hacked, and they or someone they know had a financial account compromised online.

Of course, the computer industry is well served by seeing one the fears of its main business models pale in comparison to the threat of evil hackers.

But perhaps it’s a reasonable question to ask at a time when online privacy fears often seem to run as high as online security fears.

The study found 74 percent of recipients agreed that the federal government needs to better police identity theft.

But what about the so-very-2013 threat of the government itself accessing people’s info? Just 15 percent said that was their top privacy and security concern.

The other interesting aspect of the survey was its finding that people seem to be stepping up their personal privacy and security efforts. This seems to be a very tech-savvy group.

Of those polled, 83 percent said they put passwords on their devices, 76 percent said they use different passwords for each service, 68 percent said they have adjusted their privacy settings on a social network or online account, 65 percent said they have set their browser to disable cookies, and 65 percent said they read the privacy policies for websites they visit. (Okay, really? That seems hard to believe.)

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First the NSA came for, well, jeez pretty much everybody’s data at this point, and I said nothing because wait how does this joke work

— Parker Higgins via Twitter