Pew Study: More Americans Say They’ve Experienced Personal Data Breach


Although some would argue that 100% of Americans have had their privacy stolen by the NSA, the assumption among others is actually the opposite: a belief that they are safe online, immune from hackers, and impervious to data breaches.

Pew online data breach studyIn fact, findings from a recent Pew Research Center study suggest that growing numbers of online Americans have had sensitive information stolen.

The study discovered the following:

  • 18% of online adults have had personal info stolen, such as their Social Security number, credit card, or bank account information (a 7% increase from the 11% who reported personal information theft in July 2013. That’s a 63% increase!)
  • 21% of online adults said they had an email or social networking account compromised or taken over without their permission (the same number as reported in a July 2013 survey).

As technology journalist Larry Magid points out, “Data breaches — especially when your Social Security number is disclosed — can lead to identity theft.” 

News of the massive Heartbleed bug has certainly brought to the surface how easily people’s online data can be accessed. This scary story made many people worry about identity theft. But as PRIVATE WiFi’s CEO Kent Lawson reminded us, Heartbleed reinforces that we are ultimately responsible to protect the privacy and security of our communications. And the only way to do so effectively is to use a virtual private network (VPN) such as PRIVATE WiFi.


Get Private Wifi   Protect your personal information.
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Elaine Rigoli

Elaine Rigoli is PRIVATE WiFi's manager of digital content strategy.

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