HSB: Young Adults Most Likely to Be Targeted in Cyber Attack

September 20, 2016

More than one-third of U.S. consumers experienced a computer virus, hacking incident or other cyber attack in the past 12 months, a survey by Zogby Analytics for The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) reported, and young adults 18-24 were the most likely victims.

The nationwide survey also found that victims of cyber crimes almost always spent money to recover from the attack, primarily to restore data and purchase software. In 23 percent of the cases, people spent between $1,000 and $5,000 per incident, while 56 percent spent less than $500.

“Consumers rely on smartphones, personal computers and tablets for virtually every aspect of their lives,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president and counsel for HSB, part of Munich Re. “Their personal information is stored online and increasingly their home systems are connected to the Internet. The threat to cyber security for individuals and families is significant and growing.”

The top two concerns among consumers were potential cyber attacks (66 percent “somewhat” or “very” concerned) and online fraud (62 percent).

Of the 37 percent of respondents who reported a cyber attack, almost half (42 percent) were in the 18-24 age group, compared with 34 percent of people ages 55-69 and 22 percent age 70 plus. The most common type of damage was a computer virus or other unwanted software (69 percent).

Online fraud leading to theft of money or property was experienced by 18 percent of those surveyed. Younger people were the biggest targets, with 26 percent of victims ages 18-29, compared with 11 percent ages 65 and older. Despite the results, approximately 45 percent of those age 50 and older were very concerned about online fraud, compared with only 37 percent of those ages 18-29.

A cyber extortion threat or demand was experienced by 11 percent of respondents and 71 percent of the incidents involved demands for money to unlock fraudulently encrypted data. More than half of those affected (53 percent) refused to pay, although some paid multiple times — 15 percent of them four or more times.

Zogby Analytics was commissioned by Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) to conduct an online survey of 1,500 adults in the United States. Based on a confidence interval of 95 percent, the margin for error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, meaning all other things being equal, the identical survey repeated will have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

Source: Hartford Steam Boiler

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