New York, NY-based coupon engine CouponFollow, part of NextGen Shopping surveyed 1,666 US adults before the pandemic and a further 1,834 US adults in February 2021 to understand how Americans view their internet security and data privacy.
The report showed that almost seven in ten (69%) of Americans are concerned about the security of their data when using public Wi-fi, and nearly two in three (64%) are worried about it when using the internet at home.
A similar percentage (65%) are concerned that their medical or financial data might be shared -- or sold on -- by their ISP.
Online privacy worries almost half (47%) of Americans who are concerned about their privacy when using public Wi-Fi. Nearly a third (30%) worry about their privacy even when using the Internet at home.
Online fraud and hacking is a concern for Americans with over one in three (35%) knowing someone who has had their social media account hacked or hijacked -- including them. Almost half of Millennials (48%) reported this happening.
Only 12% of Baby Boomers reported having their password stolen, and one in five (20%) had a social media account hacked or hijacked -- reflecting the amount of time they spend online.
Although one in three (35%) Americas use a VPN, 33% reported that they do not know what a VPN is.
Men are more likely to know what a VPN is, but almost half of Baby Boomers (49%) do not know what a VPN is. Even two in five (40%) of VPN users do not understand what the term VPN means.
Using the internet at work does not seem to elicit the same level of concern. This could be due to the levels of antivirus and firewall protections that their employer has implemented on their devices.
Perhaps it is due to the type of sites that people browse on their work devices, here, less than one in three (32%) are worried about their security.
Less than one in five (18%) are concerned about their privacy when browsing the web from a work device.
Over one in ten (12%) started to use a VPN in 2020, and one in five (21%) installed a VPN to enable them to work from home.