Public distrusts companies with their personal info

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Contradictory attitudes to online security persist

A majority of people believe that online companies are careless about the security of their customers' personal information, according to a survey published by security software developer Siber Systems.

It shows that 60% of the more than 700 adults questioned in the UK, US and Germany, did not trust companies to use their data responsibly.

But this has not prompted many to take steps to improve their security. Of those who acknowledged having a personal account hacked, 79% continued to use the website linked to the account.

One out of three surveyed occasionally use the same passwords for both work and personal accounts and women were found to be twice as likely to use a word or detail in their password that is personal to them, such as their mother's maiden name.

While many commercial websites are considering more secure log-in practices to protect users, the survey indicates a significant number of people would find those practices burdensome.

For example, if a company introduced two-step login verification wherein a second password is sent to a pre-agreed phone number, 23% said they would not have the time to go through such a process, and another 13% replied it sounded too complicated.

However, 42% said they would trust such a company more with their personal information.

There is also some caution about cloud based services, with 31% of respondents stating that they would not trust the relevant companies to keep their personal data safe.

"Our survey shows that, like many things in life, people complain about the safety of their information online, but few are willing to take firm steps to protect that information," said Bill Carey, vice president of marketing at Siber Systems.

"In an era where our health information, our purchasing practices, our correspondence and even information about our family and friends is online, it's more important than ever to take online security seriously."