Europeans "have lost control" of their personal data

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A majority of European tech users have no idea where their personal data is being stored online, new research has found.

A study by Kaspersky Lab has discovered that 64 per cent of those surveyed are not aware of all the places their data is being stored across the web.

The security firm surveyed over 7,000 consumers across Europe and found that consumers care about the fate of their data with 88 per cent caring if their data is used unlawfully. Additionally, 57 per cent said they would feel scared or stressed if their personal financial data was hacked into. 

However, consumer trust in large businesses is declining with just 45 per cent of respondents placing their trust in them to take care of their data and only 36 per cent believing that their data is secure on social media sites.

Consumer responsibility

Despite their lack of trust in large businesses to manage their data, consumers are not doing much to help themselves and a worrying number of those surveyed get even the simple things wrong. For example, one in five (20 percent) do not password protect their Wi-Fi and 30 per cent do not protect their devices with security software.

“People know they must protect their own data, because failing to do so can be disastrous," said Marco Preuss, head of Kaspersky's Global Research and Analysis Team in Europe.

"If your data is stolen you may lose money, be chased for a debt that somebody else has run up, your reputation may be destroyed, you may even be accused of a crime. Your information may be sold and the money used to fund all sorts of crime.” 

Kaspersky Lab says it will soon launch its latest solution, Privacy Audit, to help consumers better understand their privacy online.

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.