58 percent of employees say having their work account hacked would be more troublesome than socials, study finds

Getting hacked is no fun, no matter if it’s your social media, email, or work account. As technology evolves in the digital age, storing sensitive information digitally has never been more a part of everyday life, so cybersecurity has become absolutely crucial.

For many, the type of account that has the most sensitive information, and therefore would be the worst to get hacked, varies significantly. To get a sense of what types of accounts are most important to people in regard to cybersecurity and keeping their data safe, Beyond Identity surveyed 1,000 people with eye-opening results.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, when asked which type of account had the most sensitive information, 59.7% of respondents said their personal accounts were most sensitive, while 25.3% said work, and 15% cited social. However, the individuals surveyed said overwhelmingly that having their work account hacked would be most impactful (58%).

The least impactful type of account that could be hacked, according to respondents, was social media (59.3%). Interestingly, though, 44.8% of respondents said that having their social account hacked would be the most embarrassing.

Among incidents like account hacking, home burglaries, stolen phones and wallets, and bank account hacking, it was interesting to see where respondents landed on which were deemed worse overall. Notably, 50.6% said it would be worse getting their phone stolen than hacked, and 49.4% said it’d be worse getting it hacked than stolen. Nearly 52% said it would be worse having their computer hacked than stolen, compared to 48.1% who felt stolen was worse than hacked.

More than 67% of respondents said it was worse getting their car stolen than having their social media account hacked, compared to 32.8% who said getting their social account hacked would be worse. Seventy percent said it’d be worse to have their home burglarized than having their social hacked, compared to 30% who cited social hacking as worse.

Just shy of 3 in 4 respondents said getting their bank account hacked would prove more detrimental than getting their private messages leaked, compared to 25.3% who claimed the opposite.

One big question that Beyond Identity posed in their study was regarding the type of information within work accounts that was most important in terms of cybersecurity, and which information in these accounts would have the biggest negative impact. On a scale of 1 to 10, when it comes to level of importance, files/data scored a 6.3, work email accounts scored a 5.9, work contacts scored a 4.9, messaging app accounts scored a 4.4, and virtual meeting accounts scored a 4.3.

If that information was hacked, which would have the most negative impact? On the same scale, files/data got a 6.1, work email accounts scored a 5.7, work contacts scored a 4.6, messaging app accounts scored a 4.2, and virtual meeting accounts scored a 4.0.

In a scenario where ransomware is involved, it’s not surprising that 48.4% of employees surveyed said files/data was the work-related account that they’d spend the most time trying to recover. Nearly 3 in 10 respondents said work email was the account they’d spend the most time recovering, followed by work contacts (11.5%) and messaging app accounts (10.7%).

According to employees, if a work account gets hacked, suspension would be the most likely consequence (42.4%) at a company with 51 to 100 employees. At a company with 50 or fewer employees, 40.9% said that there would likely not be any consequences.

With personal accounts, some might feel a greater sense of urgency to recover it than others—certainly depending on the kind of information that is stored in a personal account and depending on what the account is. Overall, 84.2% of respondents said they’d feel a strong sense of urgency to recover a personal account, as opposed to 14.1% of respondents who said they’d feel a moderate sense of urgency, and 1.7% said they’d feel a low sense of urgency to recover a personal account.

If a personal account (such as a computer user account or mobile bank account) was involved in a ransomware scenario, which type of account would respondents spend the most time recovering? More than half of respondents said mobile banking accounts would be the most important in terms of recovery, followed by computer accounts (15.5%), email accounts (9.6%), digital photo albums (8.9%), contacts (6%), cryptocurrency wallets (5.3%), and digital wallets (3.2%).

Social accounts are perhaps less important than personal or work accounts, as there generally would be less private information stored in these accounts due to the public nature of social media. However, 63.9% of respondents said they’d have a high level of urgency in trying to recover their social media accounts. About 1 in 4 respondents said they’d have a moderate sense of urgency, and 11.4% labeled that urgency as low.

In a ransomware scenario, Facebook was by far the social account that respondents felt they’d feel the most urgency to recover (43.8%), followed by Instagram (20.8%), Twitter (11.7%), dating profiles (10.1%), and Reddit (7.9%). And on a scale of 1 to 10, Facebook scored the highest (4.8) in terms of its importance regarding the information that is stored within a profile. Respondents also felt that their Facebook being hacked would have the most negative impact (4.7) among all the social media platforms.

It certainly seems that people care deeply about their information being secured properly, especially when it comes to work accounts. The impact that stolen information can have on someone’s personal and professional life is often significant, and there’s no denying that it’s more important than ever to have strong cybersecurity measures in place.
By Sean Kelly

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