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Americans Worry More About Hacking Than Tracking

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When it comes to safety on the Internet, many people may be worried about who is looking at their data. From data brokers to the federal government, there are a number of organizations that have access to consumer information. Although breaking privacy laws is a major concern for users of the Web, keeping their personal and financial information safe from cybercriminals was an even bigger concern.

Identity Theft a Big Concern

Predominantly, Americans are more concerned with their personal information being stolen opposed to having their online activity tracked, a new survey by the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) found. The survey, which was conducted by the Benenson Strategy Group, polled 1,000 U.S. voters about their Internet worries.

“By wide margins this survey clearly shows that ID theft has touched the majority of consumers in some way, and that hacking is more worrisome to consumers than tracking, and that voters want the government to more aggressively go after cybercriminals,” said Ed Black, president and CEO of CCIA.

The survey showed 54% were concerned about their Internet activity being tracked and being used for marketing purposes.

Although online tracking was a major worry for many of the voters, an overwhelming majority cared about identity theft. Of the 1,000 voters who took the survey, 75% were worried about their personal information being stolen by identity thieves and online hackers.

Adobe, Target Hit by Data Breaches in 2013

Identity theft and data breaches have been a major cause of concern in the country over the past year. In October, more than 38 million Adobe users had their user IDs, names, passwords and encrypted debit and credit card numbers stolen. Target was hit by a massive data breach during peak holiday shopping days, from the end of November to mid-December. Consumers always hear about data breaches occurring at small businesses that may have limited access to IT security resources, but a major chain like Target getting breached can cause some concerns for shoppers.

Consumers Are More Careful

After some startling events this past year, American should do their best to safeguard their personal information. The survey found that many people are going out of their way to protect their online data, including by disabling cookies, installing ad-blocking software and refusing to let websites remember their credit card information. By doing these little things, Americans can guard their personal information and combat identity thieves.

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