wombatsecurity | June 13, 2017

Differences in personal security behaviors of US and UK workers

Wombat surveyed more than 2,000 working adults — 1,000 in the US and 1,000 in the UK — about cyber security topics and best practices that are fundamental to network and data security, including mobile device habits and password security.

Wombat’s “2017 User Risk Report” found that half of US respondents have been a victim of identity theft, compared to 19 percent of UK respondents. This discrepancy may be attributed to lax security habits of US workers. For example, the survey found that 54 percent of US respondents believe a trusted location, such as a nice hotel or international airport, indicates a trusted WiFi network, while just 27 percent of UK respondents shared this belief.

Researchers also found that, while half of employees have a basic knowledge of phishing, 30 percent of workers do not know what phishing is, with 10 percent of respondents unable to provide a guess. Furthermore, researchers found that knowledge of ransomware was even more scarce, with 63 percent of US respondents and 58 percent of UK respondents not knowing what ransomware is.

Wombat also examined how employees’ personal behaviors and choices are directly impacting corporate device security. Of those who regularly use a corporate laptop or smartphone at home, Wombat’s survey revealed some key risks:

  • 54 percent of US respondents and 36 percent of UK respondents view/post to social media on work devices
  • 57 percent of US respondents and 28 percent of UK respondents stream media (e.g. music and video) on work devices
  • 58 percent of US respondents and 45 percent of UK respondents shop online on work devices
  • 52 percent of US respondents and 30 percent of UK respondents play games on work devices
  • Additionally, Wombat found that an alarming number of these same US workers allow their family members and trusted friends to check/reply to email (46 percent), view/post to social media (43 percent), stream media (47 percent), shop online (48 percent) and play games (50 percent) on their work devices.