Research and Statistics

Poll: Who Americans blame for data breaches


As data breaches mount and put personal information at risk, a poll finds most Americans lay the blame on laxness by retailers

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With breaches at major retailers allowing infiltration of financial data from millions of shoppers, the question arises: Who’s responsible?

YouGov plc asked this question following data breaches at Target, White Lodging and Neiman Marcus. As retailers and consumers scramble to protect any financial information the bad guys may have obtained, Krebs on Security asserts that at least at Target, the trouble for more than 110 million consumers “appears to have begun with a malware-laced email phishing attack sent to employees at an HVAC firm that did business with the nationwide retailer.”

That explains what happened, but what about who let it happen?

YouGov found that of 1,198 U.S. adults polled, retailers were blamed most often, both by those whose cards had been breached in the last year and those who had not. In fact, 51 percent of those who had been breached put retailers at fault; 57 percent of those who were not breached said retailers were to blame. How many pointed the finger at card issuers? That figure came in at only 36 percent of those who had been breached and 41 percent of those who had not.

In the poll conducted from Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2014, 46 percent of Americans weren’t happy with banks’ efforts to protect customers from credit card fraud. Men were more dissatisfied (51 percent) than women (42 percent). Some 30 percent of those polled felt enough was being done by card issuers. Only 2 percent felt that too much was being done.

See related:Data breach protection: 10 tips, More infographics

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