Majority of Consumers Sever Ties with Hacked Brands

Majority of Consumers Sever Ties with Hacked Brands

By Greg Tavarez

Ransomware attacks in 2023 surged by 95% year-over-year, with 1,278 victims identified on leak sites - already surpassing both 2021 and 2022 totals, according to a report by Corvus Insurance.

This upward trend, albeit alarming, shows no signs of slowing.

The report serves as a stark reminder of the danger posed by ransomware. For businesses, this can result in operational disruptions, financial losses and damage to reputation, as they may struggle to restore systems and meet customer expectations.

Speaking of reputation, new research shows that 75% of American consumers would boycott a brand entirely if it fell victim to a cyberattack. The research, conducted by Vercara, a cloud-based cybersecurity provider, underscores the critical role trust plays in today's interconnected marketplace.

The Vercara study, based on a nationwide survey of American adults, paints a stark picture of consumer attitudes toward cybersecurity. Businesses need to remember that trust evaporates quickly. Two-thirds of respondents said they wouldn't trust a brand with their data after a cyber incident, and 44% directly blamed companies for lax security measures leading to breaches.

Interestingly, the study found nuances in consumer reactions. While expectations are high across the board, smaller businesses appear to receive a degree of leniency, with 54% of respondents expressing more understanding compared to larger corporations. This suggests that consumers may consider factors like brand size and perceived vulnerability when making decisions after a breach.

The research also revealed a concerning lack of awareness among consumers regarding their own role in cybersecurity. Despite the prevalence of cyberattacks, more than half of respondents admitted to using work devices for personal online shopping, potentially exposing sensitive corporate data. This is a big red flag. Comprehensive cybersecurity education for users is needed as well as implementing clear policies and practices to safeguard personal and corporate information.

Furthermore, the study highlighted an underestimation of the sophistication of cybercriminals by 35% of respondents, who believed that it is challenging for attackers to impersonate large e-commerce brands. This misconception poses a threat as cybercriminals continually evolve their tactics, often using sophisticated methods such as phishing and social engineering to exploit unsuspecting individuals.

To address this gap in understanding, there is a pressing need for targeted awareness campaigns to educate consumers about the evolving tactics employed by cybercriminals, empowering them to recognize and resist potential threats in the digital landscape.

In short, there is no room for error. Businesses must look beyond implementing cutting-edge technology.

“In the current cyber landscape where most attacks start with some form of social engineering, it’s important for businesses to see their security policies through the eyes of their most vulnerable link – the employees,” said Colin Doherty, CEO at Vercara. “It’s important to run regular awareness and training sessions not just for the IT and cyber departments, but for all employees, as even more sophisticated ransomware and DDoS attacks can be spotted sooner if everyone knows what to look out for.”

Although it is the holiday season, all departments should remain vigilant about the risks associated with using corporate devices for personal reasons to lower the risks of unpleasant surprises in the form of cyberattacks.

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MSPToday Editor

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