Half of Australians hit by data breach in past 12 months

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Thursday, 30 November, 2023

Half of Australians hit by data breach in past 12 months

Nearly half of Australian adults have been impacted by a data breach in the past 12 months, according to new research into the impact of data breaches on affected individuals.

The research from PR firm Porter Novelli Australia and Quantum Market Research found that 48% of Australians affected by a data breach during this time experienced emotional distress as a result. Meanwhile 9% had to take time off work to handle the situation, 30% had to change their ID documents and 22% had to change financial details.

According to the research, while 64% of Australians believe that it’s possible for companies to protect their data from hackers, only 41% feel companies are doing enough to protect their personal information.

Porter Novelli Australia CEO Rhys Ryan said the findings demonstrate that all organisations must prepare to respond to data breaches in a way that aligns with their stated values to avoid haemorrhaging customers.

“Once you’ve had a serious breach, you no longer have an IT problem. You have a human problem, a reputation problem, a communications problem and a governance problem,” he said. “Organisations often forget the human experience of having personal information stolen. Instead, they focus on operations and their regulatory obligations — which are important — but they neglect the fragile trust they have built with customers, employees and stakeholders.”

The company’s research found that 44% of Australians would use a company that effectively and quickly responded to a breach in ways consistent with the values they have previously communicated with customers, with around a third revealing that they would recommend that business.

“For instance, if you’re a consumer-facing brand that prioritises speed of delivery, don’t keep angry consumers waiting on hold — stand up a call centre and give them concierge service,” Ryan said. “If you’re a charity, be extra transparent to demonstrate your values. The short-term costs may be higher, but the long-term downside can be catastrophic if you get it wrong.”

Image credit: iStock.com/AndreyPopov

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