Cyber attacks are estimated to cost the global economy more than $10.5 trillion this year. From consumer data theft to full-scale disruption of company operations, such as the attack that led to Clorox shortages last month, cyber attacks have become the norm. Today, the stakes are even higher with regenerative AI being used to create more sophisticated cyber threats, such as deepfake phishing scams, alongside a reported shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals worldwide.

CivicScience regularly tracks how consumers are responding and adapting to changes in the cybersecurity sphere. Here are three quick insights from the CivicScience InsightStore, in time for Cybersecurity Awareness Month.

Concern Over Data Hacking Grows

This year, U.S. adults have reported increasing concerns about their data being hacked and stolen from companies they regularly use. The percentage of those reporting they are ‘very concerned’ grew to 41% today from a quarterly average of 36% by the end of 2022. A total of 9-in-10 Americans today express they are at least ‘somewhat concerned’ about their personal data being hacked.

Intent to Use ID Protection Service on the Rise

The latest CivicScience data tracking also finds that 26% of U.S. adults claim they have been the victim of identity theft, which could include compromised social security numbers, bank accounts, credit, health information, and other important data. This isn’t far from reports this year estimating that a third of Americans will become the victims of identity theft in their lifetimes.

While the percentage of respondents reporting identity theft to CivicScience has not increased over the course of the year, usage of identity theft protection services, such as LifeLock or Identity Guard, appears to have decreased slightly – from 38% in January to 37% in October (among those aware of these kinds of services). Given that these services cost money, adoption may be stunted by inflation and economic conditions at the moment. On the other hand, intent to use ID protection services has risen two percentage points over the same time frame, from 21% to 23%.

Measuring the Impact of Cybercrime Concerns on Online Behaviors

As more consumers consider using ID protection services to safeguard against identity theft, new data show that cybersecurity concerns are also impacting various types of online consumer behaviors. A total of 83% of respondents report they limit or avoid at least one category of online behavior analyzed in the study. At the top of the list is ‘clicking on ads online’ – over half say they limit or avoid clicking through ads, with adults over age 35 the most likely to do so.

Strong generational differences can also be seen with ‘using mobile payment apps’ (such as Venmo and PayPal) and ‘opening emails.’ Gen Z and younger Millennials are far less likely to say they limit or avoid these due to cybersecurity concerns. Alternately, even though ‘shopping online’ and ‘banking online’ are still impacted by consumer concerns, they are distinctly more even across generations.

A Look at ‘Deepfake’ Robocall Scams

This year saw reports of the emergence of deepfake robocall phishing scams, such as those where generative AI is used to mimic the voice of a contact to extract personal information or money from victims. When asked, 22% of respondents say that they have either been personally targeted this way or know someone who has been targeted. Close to 1-in-5 have never heard of this kind of scam before. Numbers are far higher among younger adults — 19% of Gen Z adults say they have been personally targeted, compared to just 9% of those aged 35-54.

To stay on top of the latest cybersecurity trends and how they are impacting consumer behavior, get in touch.