Theft of personal data on the Internet is not exactly a new phenomenon. However, the newly published findings gathered from a study conducted in January of this year by the Pew Research Center indicate that such thefts are on the rise just in the last nine months alone.
The Pew Research Center reports that 18 percent of online adults have had sensitive, personal information stolen from them, which includes Social Security numbers, credit card numbers, and bank account information. That’s a 7 percent increase from July 2013, when 11 percent of the adults surveyed indicated that they suffered thefts of such personal data. Meanwhile, the rate of people reporting that they have had a social networking or email account get compromised has at least stood pat. In both the July 2013 and January studies, 21 percent of online adults stated that an email or social networking account of theirs had been tampered with.
However, there is a silver lining. As more and more people continue to incorporate the Internet into their daily lives, their awareness and concern regarding how much of their personal information is available on the Internet have grown substantially in the past few years. The Pew Research Center notes that in 2009, 33 percent of Internet users indicated that this was a worry. As of this past January, that number has grown to 50 percent.
We can only hope that the escalation of such concerns translates to increased education and awareness on matters relating to data security, password strength, and the over-sharing of personal information on the Web.
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