NEW YORK — Being the victim of an online hack or data leak is an absolutely awful feeling. In a world that’s gone digital seemingly down every avenue, we’re faced with the very real possibility that our private information could fall into the hands of a ransomware hacker who holds our computers hostage. So, just how much is the average person willing to spend in order to regain their stolen info? According to a new international survey, quite a lot.
Commissioned by online password management firm LastPass, the survey of 2,000 adults found that one in four respondents would be willing to buy back their information from the black market. Respondents who had already dealt with an online hack in the past were especially quick to take out their wallets, with over 50% saying they would pay for their stolen data.
The average survey participant said they would be willing to pay $29,332 to buy back their information from a ransomware hacker. Individuals from a number of countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, and France were surveyed, and one of the top pieces of information respondents valued were debit card numbers. Americans in particular said they would be willing to pay $3,968 to regain a stolen debit card number.
Unfortunately, the survey also illustrated just how common online data theft can be. A total of 28% of respondents had already been the victim of a data hack, and of the 1,000 Americans surveyed, 35% had previously had their data stolen.
Passwords were also a valuable commodity among respondents, with the average person saying they would pay an average of $3,808 to regain their email password. Meanwhile online banking passwords are apparently a bit cheaper in the minds of respondents; the average respondent would pony up $3,213 to get their bank password back.
Despite the fact that all respondents said that they know it is important to have strong passwords, three in 10 admitted that not all of their online passwords are strong. On the bright side, the survey did reveal that most people take their financial passwords more seriously than social media related passwords. More than 70% of respondents said that their financial passwords are their most complex and hardest to crack.
It’s clear that online privacy and safety is an issue on the minds of many people. Nearly half (47%) of respondents said they worry on a regular basis that their passwords are easily hackable. Unfortunately, the survey also found that two in five hadn’t changed a single password over the past 12 months following a high profile data breach.
“Passwords play a huge part in one’s overall security, but people continue to neglect basic best practices,” says a LastPass spokesperson in a statement. “Some of the most common ways people are leaving themselves vulnerable online is by using weak, easy to crack passwords, and then using those same passwords on many of their other online accounts.”
Besides just paying for their information back, 28% said they would give up alcohol to prevent a data breach, 41% said they would rather sit in traffic than have their information compromised, and a third would even (gasp!) do their taxes if it meant avoiding data theft.
The survey was conducted by OnePoll.