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Workers in the United States are more vulnerable to identity theft compared to those in the UK, says a study by Womba Security Technologies.

The cyber-security firm’s analysis reveals workers in the US place their work devices at risk due to poor cyber-security hygiene.

A study conducted on 1,000 US workers and 1,000 UK workers has revealed stark differences in the ways both sets of workers treat their work devices. The level of cyber-security hygiene displayed by them also has a direct bearing on their vulnerability to cyber-attacks and identity theft.

Womba Security Technologies’ 2017 User Risk Report reveals that as many as 54% of US workers use public Wi-Fi networks just because they feel that trusted organisations have trusted Wi-Fi networks. As a result, half of all US respondents have been victims of identity theft in the recent past.

In contrast, only 27% of workers in the UK trusted public Wi-Fi networks run by trusted organisations and as a result, only 19% of them have been victims of identity theft.

The study also delved into how workers in the US and in the UK use their work devices. It concluded that as more US workers used their work devices to view social media, post pictures, shop online, play games and stream media compared to UK workers. Here’s a comparative chart of how workers in the US and in the UK treat their work devices:

Work device usage US workers UK workers
Viewing/posting on social media 54% 36%
Playing games 52% 30%
Shopping online 58% 45%
Streaming media 57% 28%

The study also clarified how human behaviour puts organisations at risk from phishing campaigns and cyber-attacks. It mentioned that 46% of US workers gave their work devices to family members to check e-mails, 43% to check/post to social media, 48% to shop online, 50% to play games and 47% to stream media.

The study also found that awareness of phishing and ransomware is generally low in both countries despite popular phishing and malware attacks garnering huge media coverage. Alarmingly, 58% of workers in the UK and 63% of workers in the US don’t know what ransomware is and overall, 30 percent of workers do not know what phishing is.

A report by IDC earlier this year also revealed that on an average, UK firms perform better when dealing with security incidents compared to their European counterparts. As per a study conducted by the firm, organisations in the UK have so far resolved individual incidents quicker compared to their European counterparts. As many as 37% of UK firms said they coped comfortably with security incidents and 22% of UK firms can resolve incidents in 24 hours, compared to 13 percent overall.

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