Just over half of South African workers say they would feel more violated by data theft than intruders entering their homes.
This is according to a survey by IT company Citrix and UK research firm Opinium which studied attitudes to personal and professional data security of 1 000 full-time workers in SA.
The research reveals that 51% of South African workers would feel more violated if files were stolen from their computers than if intruders broke into their homes.
Key results of the survey further highlighted that 57% of respondents felt more vulnerable to cyber attacks than they did a year ago.
Moreover, 68% of respondents said that they avoid sharing personal information with anyone and 53% have installed security software or a firewall on their computer.
Meanwhile, 52% of respondents said they change their passwords regularly.
“Data safety has never been more important, as workers are storing increasing amounts of personal – and work – data online, potentially opening up a wealth of data for cyber criminals to target,” said Brendan McAravey, country manager for Citrix South Africa.
“Protecting information and digital identities against hackers is crucial, both at work and at home. Attackers are starting to use more sophisticated methods to target both business-critical and personal information, making it more important than ever to ensure that the correct measures are in place to stay ahead of these threats.
“Younger age groups are particularly at risk as they are more likely to store larger volumes of important data online,” said McAravery.
The study further found people aged 18–34 tended to have more than one private file on their computer that they would want no one else to see (33%), compared with 29% of those aged 35 – 55.
Data theft has become a growing concern in South Africa as ID theft contributed to the loss of R1bn from local companies in 2014 alone, according to research by Cleardata.
House break-ins, though, continue to represent a huge headache for crime fighting bodies in South Africa.
More than a quarter of a million house break-ins were recorded in 2015, according to data released by the South African Police Service (SAPS).