Security Market Segment LS
Tuesday, 26 April 2022 14:57

Digital economy has Aussies caught in a personal 'data trap': Imperva Featured

By Staff Writer
Tony Mascarenhas, Area Vice President for Australia and New Zealand, Imperva Tony Mascarenhas, Area Vice President for Australia and New Zealand, Imperva

Aussies feel trapped by the digital economy with a new online survey finding that the majority of consumers feel they have to share personal data if they want to use digital services - but they don’t trust these organisations to protect that data.

According to digital security company Imperva its No Silver Linings report - informed by an online YouGov survey of 1,004 Australians - the proliferation of data collection in the digital economy is making it increasingly difficult for consumers to maintain control over their personal information.

“With the almost daily news of data breaches and misuse of personal information, Aussies have little faith that organisations are keeping their data safe and private,” says Imperva area vice president for Australia and New Zealand Tony Mascarenhas.

They also understand the risks of having their personal information leaked or stolen. However, many of us feel like we have no choice but to share our data if we want to participate in the digital economy.”

Imperva says that “exhausted consumers have given up on security” and that the survey found that two in three (66%) say they have “no idea” how many companies they’ve shared their personal data with, and 47% say they share data with so many different companies that they can’t possibly verify each company’s track record of how well they look after and protect personal data.

And according to the survey almost a third (31%) of Aussies believe it’s “inevitable” that their data will be leaked at some point, so they don’t really worry about it - and more than a quarter (27%) of people have been informed that a password for an online account has been compromised in the past, but didn't bother to change the password.

Imperva says that despite this lax attitude, consumers still have grave concerns over the consequences of having their personal information leaked or stolen. The top concerns expressed in the survey were:

●       Having my money stolen and never getting it back (55%)

●       Having my identity stolen and finding out that people have laundered money, committed fraud, or otherwise broken the law in my name (54%)

●       Someone stealing my identity in order to take ownership of my house or other possessions (38%)

Noting that trust has hit rock bottom, Imperva says that despite their propensity to share information, Aussies have little faith in the willingness of digital service providers' to keep personal data secure and private, and the majority (39%) say their faith has decreased in the past five years, while 36% remained the same and 14% increased.

Even industries that handle the most valuable and sensitive data are not trusted - only 43% trust financial services, and 37% trust healthcare and government – and there is almost no trust for messaging services, social media, media and streaming services, online gaming and retail (all scoring 10% or below).

More than a quarter (28%) say they don’t trust any industry listed to adequately protect their data.

“Organisations face a complete breakdown of trust unless they begin rebuilding now,” says Mascarenhas.

“While organisations rush to introduce more digital innovations, it is vital they don’t overlook the potential security risks these new technologies create. Data breaches can have a real and lasting impact - from downtime and fines to loss of revenue and damaged brand reputation. Prevention is always going to be better than the cure, which is why data-centric security must be part of every organisation’s strategy in 2022.”

The survey found that while only 10% of Australians trust cloud messaging services, 50% admit to using these services to share intimate, private secrets.

According to Imperva, lives could be ruined if these messages were exposed, with 44% saying it would ruin relationships with friends or family, 40% saying it would impact their mental health and 25% saying it would leave them open to blackmail. Others said they could face criminal charges (19%) or lose their job (23%), spouse/partner (23%), or even children (14%).

“As we transact more and more online, there is the overwhelming sense that we’ve lost control of our own information,” says Mascarenhas.

Our digital footprint continues to expand and there doesn’t seem to be a way to put the genie back in the bottle. In the face of this, we’ve reverted to a “she’ll be right” attitude towards our personal information.”

Mascarenhas says he is keen to stress that it is never too late to start practicing better data sharing and security practices, and shares some practical advice to help Australians give themselves the best chance to keep their personal information safe in this digital age:

●       Set strong security around your online accounts: Be sure to use strong, differentiated passwords for each account and set multi-factor authentication where possible.

●       Think before you click: Be mindful of the information to choose to share, and where you share it, especially if this information can be publicly accessible such as social media. Consider the reputation and legitimacy of an organisation before you share your information with them, and take a little time reviewing tracking cookies and app permissions requested.

●       Be especially cautious with your financial information: Don't let your online shopping accounts or browser save your payment details. If you do, you increase your risk of someone being able to access them. Use secure payment methods like PayPal or your credit card as there are dispute resolution processes available if something goes wrong. Never send your bank or credit card details via email or SMS.

●       Be alert and ready to act if there is a data breach: Keep track of data breaches and if you are a customer of an organisation that has suffered a data breach, change your password immediately and be on alert for any unusual activity.


Q. Which of the following organisations do you completely trust to keep your private information absolutely private?






Social Media




Online Gaming

None of these










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