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Survey Finds Privacy Protection a Lost Cause

Black Hat today released a new report, Where Cybersecurity Stands, based on a survey of Black Hat USA attendees. The survey looked, in part, at whether privacy protection is a lost cause and posed questions to more than 300 top information security professionals about privacy, election hacking, the US federal government’s ability to handle cyber-threats, nation-state attacks, the cryptocurrency hype and the perceived risks to the nation’s critical infrastructure.

The survey revealed that only 26% of respondents believe individuals will be able to protect their online identity and privacy in the future. These results were reportedly influenced by a string of data breach announcements coupled with the recent Facebook investigation.

Because of growing concerns about the collection, use and sharing of data on social networks, 55% of respondents warn Facebook users to think differently about what data they share. In addition, 75% noted that they have either limited their use of or avoided using Facebook.

According to the survey, cybersecurity professionals grow more concerned about the safety of their own users and data, as well as their privacy. They also have a growing concern about the security of increasingly connected systems and the stability of national and international environments.

“In short, the professionals who are most familiar with today’s cybersecurity environment are in broad agreement that the systems that today serve as platforms for personal, political, and financial interchange are at significant risk of compromise – or even collapse,” the report stated.

Few security professionals (13%) expressed faith in government when it comes to understanding and defending against cyber-threats, with 71% reporting that recent nation-state activity from Russia, China and North Korea has made US enterprise data less secure. In 2017, Black Hat reported that 60% of security professionals expected a successful attack on US critical infrastructure. According to the 2018 report, that data point has risen almost 10%.

An additional key finding consistent with the grim outlook of survey respondents was that nearly 60% of them believe they will have to respond to a major security breach in their own organization in the coming year, though most feel they have inadequate staffing and budget to defend against emerging threats.

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