Finance, retail sectors reap data privacy wins in Harris Poll
Major investments from the finance and retail sectors in cybersecurity and data privacy have seemingly paid off with consumers, based on the 2023 Axios Harris Poll 100 brand reputation survey.
Why it matters: Both the financial and retail sectors — as well as Apple — have poured large amounts of cash into their security programs and presenting themselves as the safest place for consumers to store their most sensitive data.
- Those investments seem to be working, despite high-profile incidents in the last few years involving some of the top-ranking companies.
Driving the news: JPMorgan Chase & Co., Apple and PayPal topped the list of companies that consumers said protect customers' personal information and data "well."
- 61% said JPMorgan protected data "well," while 59% said the same of Apple and 58% of PayPal.
- Military-focused financial services company USAA (57%), Amazon (56%) and American Express (56%) followed close behind.
- The Axios Harris Poll surveyed more than 16,000 people between March 13 and March 28.
The big picture: Each of these sectors and companies has faced major cyber and data privacy incidents in the last decade that have made privacy a selling point with their consumers.
- For retailers, that reckoning started after the massive 2013 Target breach that affected millions of customers' credit cards during the holiday shopping season.
- Banks have faced a string of major cyber incidents in recent years, including a 2014 data breach at top-ranked company JPMorgan and a 2012 coordinated attack on several U.S. banks' websites.
- Apple started pushing its privacy-focused marketing campaign shortly after the 2018 Cambridge Analytica scandal further exposed the ways users' data can be shared with third parties.
Between the lines: Each of these sectors also remains a top target for both criminal and nation-state cyberattacks, making these security investments necessary.
- JPMorgan invested $12 billion in technological and security updates last year.
- Apple continues to invest in new security tools for consumers, including new encryption levels and malware-detection abilities.
Yes, but: The Axios Harris Poll results don't automatically mean that these companies are perfect beacons of data privacy and protection.
- Thousands of PayPal customers were affected by a so-called credential-stuffing attack earlier this year.
- Experts have pushed Apple to go even further in its privacy and security programs, including by declining more requests from law enforcement for user data.
The intrigue: The financial sector in particular has some of the most robust security regulations in the U.S.
- Those requirements — which include rules for organizations to report breaches to regulators — give more weight to the financial sector's perception as one of the best at protecting users' sensitive data.
Be smart: It's impossible for any company to be 100% safe from cyberattacks, considering the speed at which criminal hackers adapt their tricks and the rate at which new security flaws are discovered.
- However, consumers can still do their due diligence to limit what they share with companies and turn on advanced account security features like multifactor authentication.
Sign up for Axios’ cybersecurity newsletter Codebook here.