Americans unaware of 74% of data breaches they're victims in

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Researchers from Ann Arbor-based University of Michigan launched a study to see if Americans were aware their data was being breached, according to a July 1 NextGov report.

The researchers found 73 percent of the 413 study participants had been victims of a data breach. The participants were shown data from up to three data breaches they were involved in.

Four things to know:

  1. Researchers used a publicly accessible database to search participants' email addresses and phone numbers. The database tells users which data breach their information was leaked in, with brief details about the incident.

  2. Participant's data had been breached an average of five times each, with participants unaware of 74 percent of the breaches.

  3. Only 14 percent of participants attributed the breach to an organization being hacked. Instead, participants listed using the same password across multiple accounts and having an email account for too long as top reasons.

  4. "This is concerning," said Yixin Zou, PhD candidate at the University of Michigan. "If people don't know that their information was exposed in a breach, they cannot protect themselves properly against a breach’s implications."

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