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18.4% of US Internet users got at least one of their account compromised

Almost one in five US Internet users report that one of their online accounts had been comprised at some point. That is the result of the study I conducted using Google Consumer Surveys.  This a much higher percentage than I imagined and it emphasizes how pervasive account compromises are.

As you can see on the chart below, when asked “Has anyone ever broken into any of your online accounts including email, social network, banking, and online gaming ones?” respondents answered “yes, once”  12% of the time and 6.4% of the respondents indicated they had multiple accounts compromised.


Account compromised statistics using Google consumer surveys

For this study I surveyed 10,406 Us respondents. Higher income seems to be slightly negatively correlated with the likelihood of having an account compromised, as shown on the figure below. On the other hand, I found not correlation with  gender.

Income Negative impact on account compromised.


How can I protect my accounts?

Although there are a lot of things you can do to protect your online accounts, in my experience one of the best strategies to help keep the accounts you care about secure is to provide the online service with your phone number for extra verification purposes. This extra piece of information can be used to deter fraudulent logins bu enabling the online service to send a text message with a verification code to your cell phone when they detect a suspicious or unusual activity.

For more tips on securing your accounts, I recommend this site: http://www.google.com/goodtoknow/online-safety/

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Elie Bursztein

I lead Google's anti-abuse research team, which invents ways to protect users against cyber-criminal activities and Internet threats. I blog about web performance and security.

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Elie Bursztein © 2015
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