KPMG: Consumers Vote to Ditch Breached Firms

Most consumers would take their business elsewhere if they discovered an organization had suffered a major cyber-attack or data breach, according to new data from KPMG.

The global consulting firm polled over 2000 Canadians in September to better understand the impact of security incidents and the risks for online firms that fail to adequately protect customer data.

As many as 90% of respondents said they would feel wary about sharing personal or financial information with a company that had suffered such an incident, and over two-thirds (67%) are more worried than ever about their data being breached.

The findings come at a time when consumers are spending more of their lives, and sharing more of their data, online.

Over half (54%) of respondents said they are shopping more online than they used to pre-COVID, rising to 64% for the 18-44 age group. The same number (54%) said they had received a lot more suspicious emails in the first half of 2020, and even more (84%) claimed they were being “extra careful” when shopping online for fear of their data being stolen.

Phishing (38%) and spear-phishing (13%) were revealed as the most common attacks likely to face Canadians, as they are consumers in other Western countries. Unfortunately for brands, they are likely to get the blame for successful attacks on consumers even though it is the email recipients themselves who make the mistake of clicking through.

Restoring consumer confidence will therefore require a focus on internal security, to mitigate the threat of data breaches, and closer engagement with customers to educate them about the threat from phishing and social engineering attempts to impersonate their brand.

KPMG urged organizations to identify and protect their “crown jewels,” build internal resilience through incident response, improve staff training and awareness, establish governance and accountability, and help managers better understand the business impact of security.

“While social distancing has made us much more reliant on all things digital, the surge in cyber-attacks and data breaches amid the COVID-19 pandemic is starting to undermine trust,” argued Hartaj Nijjar, KPMG partner. “The new reality in which we are living demands that every organization takes a much harder look at their cybersecurity strategy, systems and protocols.”

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