One in Three Americans Hacked in the Past Year

HSB Cyber Survey Shows Young Adults Biggest Targets, but All Ages Face Cyber Attacks


Cyber computer virus
© Getty Images

More than one-third of U.S. consumers experienced a computer virus, hacking incident or other cyber attack in the past 12 months, a survey by Zogby Analytics for The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB) reported today, and young adults 18-24 were the most likely victims.

The nationwide survey also found that victims of cyber crimes almost always spent money to recover from the attack, primarily to restore data and purchase software. In 23 percent of the cases, people spent between $1,000 and $5,000 per incident, while 56 percent spent less than $500.

“Consumers rely on smartphones, personal computers and tablets for virtually every aspect of their lives,” said Timothy Zeilman, vice president and counsel for HSB, part of Munich Re. “Their personal information is stored online and increasingly their home systems are connected to the Internet. The threat to cyber security for individuals and families is significant and growing.”

The top two concerns among consumers were potential cyber-attacks (66 percent “somewhat” or “very” concerned) and online fraud (62 percent).

Of the 37 percent of respondents who reported a cyber attack, almost half (42 percent) were in the 18-24 age group, compared with 34 percent of people ages 55-69 and 22 percent age 70 plus. The most common type of damage was a computer virus or other unwanted software (69 percent).

Online fraud leading to theft of money or property was experienced by 18 percent of those surveyed. Younger people were the biggest targets, with 26 percent of victims ages 18-29, compared with 11 percent ages 65 and older. Despite the results, approximately 45 percent of those age 50 and older were very concerned about online fraud, compared with only 37 percent of those ages 18-29.

A cyber extortion threat or demand was experienced by 11 percent of respondents and 71 percent of the incidents involved demands for money to unlock fraudulently encrypted data. More than half of those affected (53 percent) refused to pay, although some paid multiple times — 15 percent of them four or more times.

HSB offers a range of insurance products and services that addresses the risks to consumers and businesses regarding identity theft, data breach and cyber attacks.

Note for the editorial staff

For further questions please contact
Dennis Milewski
Dennis Milewski
Media Relations, HSB
1 (860) 722-5567

Survey Methodology - Zogby Analytics was commissioned by Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB) to conduct an online survey of 1,500 adults in the United States. Based on a confidence interval of 95 percent, the margin for error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points, meaning all other things being equal, the identical survey repeated will have results within the margin of error 95 times out of 100.

Hartford Steam Boiler (HSB), a member of Munich Re’s Risk Solutions family since 2009, is a leading specialty insurer providing equipment breakdown, other specialty coverages, inspection services and engineering-based risk management that set the standard for excellence worldwide. We focus on clients and partner with them to craft inventive insurance and service solutions to cover existing and emerging risks posed by technological change. Today, as throughout our 150 year history, our mission is to use our engineering knowledge and insights to help clients prevent loss, advance sustainable use of energy resources and build deeper relationships that benefit business, industry, public institutions and consumers. HSB holds A.M. Best Company’s highest financial rating, A++ (Superior). For more information, visit and connect on LinkedInTwitter and Facebook.

Munich Re stands for exceptional solution-based expertise, consistent risk management, financial stability and client proximity. This is how Munich Re creates value for clients, shareholders and staff. In the financial year 2015, the Group – which combines primary insurance and reinsurance under one roof – achieved a profit of €3.1bn on premium income of over €50bn. It operates in all lines of insurance, with over 43,000 employees throughout the world. With premium income of around €28bn from reinsurance alone, it is one of the world’s leading reinsurers. Especially when clients require solutions for complex risks, Munich Re is a much sought-after risk carrier. Its primary insurance operations are concentrated mainly in the ERGO Insurance Group, one of the leading insurance groups in Germany and Europe. ERGO is represented in over 30 countries worldwide and offers a comprehensive range of insurances, provision products and services. In 2015, ERGO posted premium income of €17.9bn. In international healthcare business, Munich Re pools its insurance and reinsurance operations, as well as related services, under the Munich Health brand. Munich Re’s global investments (excluding insurance-related investments) amounting to €215bn are managed by MEAG, which also makes its competence available to private and institutional investors outside the Group.

Zogby Analytics is an international research firm, providing clients with information and knowledge critical for making informed strategic decisions since 1984. The firm conducts multi-phased opinion research with state-of-the-art opinion research capabilities and objective analysis and consultation for banking and financial services institutions, insurance companies, hospitals and medical centers, retailers and developers, religious institutions, cultural organizations, colleges and universities, IT companies and federal agencies.

Hartford, Connecticut, September 13, 2016

The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company
One State Street
P.O. Box 5024
Hartford, Connecticut 06102-5024
United States