Cybersecurity Blame Game–Consumers, Companies in Digital Stand Off


Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and Target Corp. are just a few of many large consumer-facing companies that have been hit with massive data breaches. After an incident, companies generally investigate the breach, speak with counsel and decide how to clean up any fall out. But companies aren’t the only ones that feel the effects of a data breach. Consumers may have to reach out to credit card providers and identify theft services to make sure their sensitive personal data wasn’t used by a nefarious actor. 

When the dust settles after a breach, who is to blame? According to a recent report from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab Inc. and bug bounty platform company HackerOne Inc., consumers are putting the blame on companies. The report, “Hacking America: Cybersecurity Perception,” revealed that 73 percent of survey respondents believe that retailers, such as Target, should be responsible for protecting sensitive consumer data and 64 percent believe credit card companies should be held accountable as well. The study surveyed over 5,000 U.S. consumers that were at least 16 years old.

But, consumers aren’t without fault and they know it, the report found. About 63 percent of adults aged 24 to 43 years old believe that they must take some responsibility for their own data and 74 percent of adults over 55 believe they should take additional responsibility. 

There need not be finger pointing, however, because companies and consumers should live in harmony, Ryan Naraine, head of U.S. global research and analysis team at Kaspersky Lab, told Bloomberg BNA. Cybersecurity preparedness isn’t just the responsibility of companies, he said. Companies should work with consumers, the government and even other private sector stakeholders to provide imperative cybersecurity protections that work for all parties, Naraine said. 

If the government needs to play a role, it may have to do a better job of communicating that to consumers. The report found that 44 percent of survey respondents think that North America is more prone to cyberattacks, especially nation-sponsored hacks, with President Donald Trump at the helm. Millennials are even more concerned as 56 percent that U.S. cybersecurity risk is elevated under the new administration. 

If companies, consumers and the government can’t come together at least they’ll be able to agree that cybersecurity concerns are growing and something must be done. 

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