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Cybersecurity. Poles targeted by hackers. “We still underestimate our own role in the process”

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In the last year, nearly 33 percent of Poles encountered an attempt to phishing their data through, for example, a fake phone call or e-mail, and 12.4 percent fell victim to it, according to a study by ChronPESEL.pl and KRD. The number of reported breaches of personal data protection has been increasing in recent years.

In the study “Knowledge about the security of personal data protection in Poland” of the ChronPESEL.pl website and the National Debt Register (KRD), almost 33 percent. of respondents declared that in the last 12 months they encountered an attempt to phishing their data through a fake phone call, SMS or e-mail, and 25 percent. – that a friend or family member has experienced such a situation.

More and more reported violations

At the same time, 12.4 percent of respondents admitted that fraudsters managed to extort their data in this way. For a similar percentage of people (13.7%), the victim was someone close to them. 13.1 percent Poles faced data leakage from private companies (7.5%) and public institutions (5.6%). They pointed out similarly in relation to their families and friends; 22 percent of people surveyed are not sure whether their data did not fall into the hands of criminals this way.

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According to the statistics of the Office for Personal Data Protection quoted in the study, the number of reported breaches of personal data protection has been growing in recent years. In 2022, almost 13,000 cases were reported to the UODO. such cases, and two years earlier – 7.5 thousand. However, the actual scale of the threat to the security of personal data is much higher, experts from the ChronPESEL.pl website believe.

“Many people may not be aware that their personal data has fallen into the wrong hands, especially when it comes to those collected in various institutions or companies over which they have no control” – said the expert of the ChronPESEL.pl website, Bartłomiej Drozd. According to him, some Poles ignore such a fact, because they think that they cannot do anything in this situation anyway. “Criminals count on this. They take advantage of our ignorance and carelessness, but also a sense of lack of responsibility for the security of their data” – he told PAP.

We still underestimate our own role

According to the study “Knowledge about the security of personal data protection in Poland”, every fourth Pole believes that he can indicate who should neutralize the negative effects of a sensitive data leak. 37 percent admitted that they had no idea about it, and as many declared no opinion on the subject. When asked for specifics, the majority (2/3) of the respondents indicated the entity responsible for the situation, as well as the police and the prosecutor’s office. They also often mentioned data protection officers and the Personal Data Protection Office. On the other hand, persons whose data have been made public were indicated least frequently. – These results show that we still underestimate our own role in the process of protecting our personal data – emphasized Drozd.

We expect from the entities responsible for data leakage, above all, information about the fact that such a situation has occurred and what data has fallen into the wrong hands (63.5% of indications each), as well as the implementation of measures to reduce the risk of similar events in the future (60.2% percent). To a lesser extent, we are interested in information to whom our data went (54.8%), what are the possible consequences of such a leak (49.5%) and recommendations for actions that we should take ourselves so that its consequences are as little as possible for us negative (45.4%). Every third respondent expects a discount on the services of the leaked company in such a situation. – This shows that an increasing number of Poles understand that their data is not a commodity that can be traded, and understand that the consequences of a data leak can have serious consequences for them – said Drozd.

We can significantly reduce the risk

Most Poles answer the question: “what actions do you take to ensure the security of your personal data?” indicates, above all, caution in giving other people their PESEL number (94%), does not click on links from text messages or e-mails, does not open messages of unknown origin and always destroys documents containing personal data before throwing them away (approx. 92% each ). In turn, an antivirus program installed on a computer, laptop or tablet has 85 percent. surveyed. Less than 3/4 of us use it on a smartphone. A similar percentage declared that they do not repeat the same login password in different places. However, almost 70 percent always checks whether personal data provided to companies or institutions can also be provided to their business partners.

UODO spokesman Adam Sanocki, quoted in the study, pointed out that by properly protecting personal data, we can reduce the risk of their use by unauthorized persons. – Let us remember to be vigilant when providing data via the Internet – he warned. He noted that Poles are more careful in providing their PESEL number or do not open messages and attachments of unknown origin. He emphasized that in the era of new technologies and devices using artificial intelligence, criminals use more and more new ways to obtain our personal data.

The study “Knowledge about the security of personal data protection in Poland” was conducted in May 2023 by IMAS International on a representative sample of 1,007 Poles, commissioned by the ChronPESEL.pl website and the National Debt Register of the Economic Information Bureau under the auspices of the Personal Data Protection Office and the Institute of Personal Data Protection Personal Data.

Main photo source: Ivanova Ksenia / Shutterstock.com

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