The majority of consumers fear they will be victims of a breach, and less than a third believe firms are taking data protection seriously.

According to research by Gemalto, 58 per cent of customers are worried about such incidents and just 29 per cent think companies are doing enough to protect their personal data.

Insecure firms stand to lose a large amount of business, with 66 per cent of consumers unlikely to do business with organisations responsible for exposing information.

The 9,000 customers surveyed from around the world believe 70 per cent of the responsibility for protecting personal data lies with companies, while 30 per cent sits with them.

But despite consumers’ increasing awareness of cyber threats, 11 per cent said they believe there are no apps or websites that pose the greatest risk to them.

Meanwhile, 80 per cent use social media despite 59 per cent believing the networks pose a great risk, and 87 per cent use online or mobile banking even though 34 per cent believing this leaves them vulnerable to cyber criminals.

This is despite 21 per cent of customers having been affected by the fraudulent use of their financial information, 15 per cent discovering fraudulent use of their personal details and 14 per cent falling victim to identity theft.

36 per cent who suffered after a data breach blamed a fraudulent website, while 34 per cent said they clicked a bad link and 33 per cent said they were fooled by a phishing attack.

“This should be a wakeup call for UK businesses,” said Jason Hart, CTO for data protection at Gemalto. “Consumers expect them to provide the necessary security protocols to protect their data, without compromising the convenience they expect when using services online like social media.

“Businesses that fail to do so could soon find themselves losing out to the competition, with consumers showing they are more than willing to take their business elsewhere should a breach occur.”

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