AlertSec-survey: Americans Expects Their Personal Data to Be Compromised

Americans trust insurance brokers least with their personal data; nearly half of Americans expect New York’s proposed cybersecurity regulation to impact the rest of the country

Palo Alto, CA, February 23, 2017 – Alertsec, the cloud-based encryption company, today released findings from a recent study gauging Americans’ confidence that third-party contractors will keep their personal data safe and feelings about New York’s proposed cybersecurity regulation. The study, fielded to more than 1,000 American adults, determined that Americans least trust insurance brokers and financial advisors to keep their personal data safe and that a full 26 percent expect their personal data to be compromised in 2017.

Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) expect New York’s proposed cybersecurity regulation to affect the rest of the U.S. If approved, as of March 1, 2017, New York State will impose significant increased cybersecurity requirements on financial service and insurance organizations.

Trust in financial advisors and insurance brokers is low

More than a quarter of Americans (26 percent) expects that their personal data will be compromised this year.

Of the third-party contractors who are not required to keep data encrypted, Americans say these are the top five most likely to compromise their personal data:

  1. Insurance broker—9 percent
  2. Financial advisor—9 percent
  3. Lawyer—7 percent
  4. Management consultant—6 percent
  5. CPA—6 percent

American men are more concerned about having their data compromised by all third-party contractors than are women and are especially concerned about financial advisors (13 percent vs. 6 percent).

Generationally, Millennials (18-34 year olds) and Gen Xers (35-44 year olds) are also most worried about their personal data in the hands of financial advisors (12 percent and 9 percent, respectively), while Baby Boomers (45-64 year olds) and Seniors (age 65+) are most concerned about insurance brokers (8 percent and 10 percent, respectively).

Insurance companies need to step up cybersecurity practices

Not surprisingly, 55 percent of Americans—63 percent of American men—think insurance brokers could use some help keeping their personal information safe.

Twenty-four percent say insurance companies could use some guidance on how best to protect information: 22 percent feel easy-to-use laptop encryption software is the answer; 18 percent say an encryption solution that won’t affect laptop performance is needed; and another 12 percent say solutions that don’t require a big investment would help.

Men are especially in favor of both easy-to-use encryption software (27 percent) and insurance companies getting guidance on how to protect information (28 percent).

New York is leading the way in cybersecurity

Nearly half of Americans (48 percent) expect that New York’s proposed cybersecurity regulation will impact the rest of the country. Twenty-three percent expect more states will adopt tougher cybersecurity protocols, and another 12 percent believe the new regulation will prompt the Federal Government to adopt tougher cybersecurity measures.

Meanwhile, 13 percent fear the new regulation is useless without mandatory encryption.

Survey methodology

Alertsec commissioned this survey of more than 1,000 American adults from February 1-3, 2017, via Google Surveys.

Google Surveys makes use of the inferred demographic and location information to employ stratified sampling by distributing the surveys based on the targeted audience to their publisher network and/or android smartphone users. They infer demographics through respondents’ browsing history, then they match them against existing government statistical data. Google Surveys uses post-stratification weighting to compensate for sample deficiencies to remove bias among the survey sample. This gives a more accurate result with lower root mean square error which also makes the results better represent the Current Population Survey. Google Surveys performs equal to or better than existing probability and non-probability based internet survey panels. A full description of the Google Surveys methodology can be found in this product overview.

About Alertsec

Alertsec, a Palo Alto-based laptop encryption company, provides cloud-based encryption

software with 24/7 helpdesk support. No server, IT knowledge or training is needed, as everything is included in the subscription. The implemented encryption has the highest security certifications—FIPS and Common Criteria. Learn more at