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1 In 5 American Households Impacted by a Data Breach in the Last Year while 40 percent failed to properly secure their wireless routers; American Parents Adapt as Technology Sparks New Rules and Concerns

SAN DIEGO, Calif.—October 14, 2015 - ESET®, a global pioneer in proactive protection for more than two decades, together with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), the nation's leading nonprofit, public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet and digital privacy, today announced findings from a new survey “Behind Our Digital Doors: Cybersecurity & the Connected Home.” The survey revealed that American households have a false sense of online security ‒ leaving their digital doors unsecured ‒ in spite of the fact that one in five American homes received a data breach notification last year and more than 50 percent of those received multiple notifications. Yet, 79 percent still feel safe in their connected homes – with almost half (49 percent) showing a remarkably strong sense of confidence. The study also found that more than 40 percent failed to properly secure their wireless routers – the gateway to most digital devices – by not resetting the factory-set default passwords.

In support of October as National Cyber Security Awareness Month, ESET and NCSA commissioned the survey to better understand the role of cybersecurity in the American household. Given the simultaneous increase in the number of connected devices and cyber threats, the survey provides an inside-look into the modern family’s connected home and how it’s adapting in the era of the digital data breach.

“From the digital workplace to the connected living space and across age groups and demographics, today’s households are more connected than ever and the number of connected devices is growing at considerable pace,” said ESET Senior Security Researcher Stephen Cobb. “Sixty-seven percent of those surveyed had between one and five connected devices at home connected to the Internet, with 30 percent owning six or more. Even more telling, 30 percent of those surveyed today have two to three more devices at home compared to last year. With so many potentially vulnerable digital entry points, this survey underlines the importance of cybersecurity as a core commitment in our digital lives.”

Beyond traditional cybersecurity insights, the study also uncovered an evolution in parenting techniques as always-connected kids and devices prompt new rules and concerns. Three-quarters (75 percent) of American parents have had a “CyberEd” talk with their kids and 90 percent have made at least one rule about using the Internet and connected devices. That said, more than 61 percent of parents showed a surprisingly high level of confidence with their kids’ online activities and their abilities to use the Internet and devices safely and securely.

However, when it comes to establishing a set of rules that would protect their children, there are some concerns.

  • Nearly 60 percent of parents don’t require permission before downloading a new app, game or joining a social network
  • 60 percent allow password sharing with friends and only 34 percent require children provide all passwords to online accounts
  • 70 percent don’t limit the kind of personal information their kids can share on social networks
  • Only 33 percent have a device free dinnertime rule
  • Just 25 percent have rules about allowing the use of devices in bedrooms after a certain time
  • Only 30 percent of American parents have rule about not downloading pirated content from the Internet such as illegal games, movies or songs

The study also revealed that 63 percent of parents relied heavily on one form of discipline when rules were broken: taking away technology with the “digital timeout” – raising the question whether old school discipline is the right response when young people need technology for conducting schoolwork and other aspects of managing their daily lives.

“There is no question that with the explosion of connected devices in the home, a fresh set of rules must be initiated in every household so that the always-on, always-connected family can enjoy the Internet safely and with a great level of confidence,” said Michael Kaiser, NCSA’s executive director. “What this study reveals is that Americans are managing their lives and clearly reaping the benefits of the Internet but it is not risk-free. With a shift in the paradigm, families can make practicing good cybersecurity a way of life and our interconnected families and communities will ultimately be safer and more secure.“

Regarding parents’ most common online fears, cyberbullying or harassment is the top concern (41 percent), followed by viewing pornography (38 percent), contact by strangers (38 percent) and viewing objectionable or age inappropriate content (37 percent).

“Behind Our Digital Doors: Cybersecurity & the Connected Home” surveyed U.S. adults on topics including: data breach notification; password protection; ownership and use of connected devices; online activity and threats; digital rule making and enforcement; cybersecurity confidence; cyber education; the Internet of Things (IoT); app security, online shopping, work from home trends and more.  See more data and top-line themes in the ESET/NCSA study fact sheet here.

The Connected American Family Infographic can be found here.

The ESET/NCSA “Behind Our Digital Doors: Cybersecurity & the Connected Home” survey was fielded by Zogby Analytics in September 2015. The responses were generated from an online survey of 1433 adults in the US. Based on a confidence interval of 95 percent, the margin of error for 1433 is +/- 2.6 percentage points.

Since 1987, ESET® has been developing record award-winning security software that now helps over 100 million users to Enjoy Safer Technology. Its broad security product portfolio covers all popular platforms and provides businesses and consumers around the world with the perfect balance of performance and proactive protection. The company has a global sales network covering 180 countries, and regional offices in Bratislava, San Diego, Singapore and Buenos Aires. For more information visit or follow us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

About the National Cyber Security Alliance
The National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) is the nation's leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet and digital privacy. Working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), private sector sponsors and nonprofit collaborators to promote cybersecurity awareness, NCSA board members include representatives from ADP, AT&T, Bank of America, BlackBerry, Comcast Corporation, ESET, Facebook, Google, Intel, Logical Operations, Microsoft, PayPal, PKWARE, RSA - the Security Division of EMC, Raytheon, Symantec, Verizon and Visa. Through collaboration with the government, corporate, nonprofit and academic sectors, NCSA's mission is to educate and empower digital citizens to use the Internet securely and safely, protect themselves and the technology they use, and safeguard the digital assets we all share. NCSA leads initiatives for STOP.THINK.CONNECT., a global cybersecurity awareness campaign to help all digital citizens stay safer and more secure online; Data Privacy Day, celebrated annually on January 28 and National Cyber Security Awareness Month, launched every October. For more information on NCSA, please visit

About National Cyber Security Awareness Month

National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) was created as a collaborative effort between government and industry to ensure every American has the resources they need to stay safer and more secure online. Now in its 12th year, NCSAM is co-led by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance, the nation's leading nonprofit public-private partnership promoting the safe and secure use of the Internet and digital privacy. Recognized annually in October, NCSAM involves the participation of a multitude of industry leaders ‒ mobilizing individuals, small- and medium-sized businesses, non-profits, academia, multinational corporations and governments. Encouraging digital citizen around the globe to STOP. THINK. CONNECT., NCSAM is harnessing the collective impact of its programs and resources to increase awareness about today's ever-evolving cybersecurity landscape. Visit the NCSAM media room: