According to an extensive survey recently conducted by business review and research platform Clutch, over 50% of active websites gather private data from visitors which could become the target of online attacks. When internet users visit a site, they usually share information about themselves by making transactions, signing up for newsletters or agreeing to terms and conditions.
The survey states that the most commonly collected private data are email addresses, which account for 57% of all stored information. Names and location data are also frequently retained by websites. While such information can provide useful insights to businesses, insufficient methods to safeguard data raises the risk of security breaches. Email addresses in particular, when in the wrong hands, could potentially pose the greatest threat.
Addressing the threat, CEO of email security firm Trustifi, Udi Edry reckons it should be taken very seriously:
When data is correlated over multiple web services, whether that is a Gmail account, a bank account, or a password retrieval from Facebook, it’s done through the email address. The combination of an email address and a name is enough [for a hacker] to start the reconnaissance on someone as a user.
Another key finding published by the survey shows that 63% of website managers do not currently use common security features, including encryption.
The Clutch 2017 Website Security Survey covered more than 300 website managers who built and/or maintain a website for a variety of uses.