Thales News Release

Vormetric Survey Reveals 89% Of Americans Fail To Recognize The Threat Posed By Stolen Medical Records

October 29, 2015

Americans are most concerned with data breaches of their financial Information 91% don’t understand the protection available from encryption

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Oct. 29, 2015 – Vormetric, a leader in enterprise data security for physical, virtual, big data and cloud environments, today announced in conjunction with Wakefield the results of its survey about the types of account information Americans are most concerned about in the event of a data breach. According to the survey, most remain unaware of their vulnerability to medical data theft, and the fact that it can be far more damaging than credit card or social security number compromise. A recent Ponemon study found that about two-thirds of medical-record theft victims said they had paid an average of $13,500 to resolve the theft. Yet 89 percent of those polled by Vormetric did not include medical records in their top three selections for personal data they would be most concerned to have lost in a data breach.

ClickToTweet: 89% of Americans Unaware of Seriousness of Medical Data Theft

The survey also found that:

  • Americans are still most concerned about the security of financial account information and social security numbers:
    • Social security numbers (84 percent)
    • Credit card data (73 percent)
    • Financial account information (71 percent)
  • The protection available from encryption was also not understood. 91 percent would still feel vulnerable if an encrypted file with their data was lost.

Other categories of sensitive information subject to data breaches that Americans are concerned about include:

  • Personal contact information – 24 percent
  • Social media usernames and passwords – 11 percent
  • Home Wi-Fi or Internet login information – 10 percent
  • Fingerprint information – 9 percent
  • Work email correspondence – 4 percent
  • Online dating account history – 3 percent

With today’s advanced threats, organizations must prepare for the fact that their networks and IT resources will be penetrated by attackers. As evidenced by recent mega breaches, such as those of Sony, Ashley Madison, Anthem and OPM, hackers are clearly after more than “just the usual.” With the FBI reporting that black market prices for PHI are 4x to 12X higher for medical records than for credit card data, people’s healthcare data is a primary target for hackers.

“Healthcare data sets contain extremely detailed personal information. Enough to not only apply for credit cards or loans, but also to generate huge sums from fraudulent medical charges,” said Tina Stewart, vice president of marketing for Vormetric. “The public’s lack of awareness of their potential exposure to this is troubling. Few seem to realize that having their medical data lost is much more dangerous to their financial health than a stolen credit card number and address.”

Encryption combined with strong access control is perhaps the most effective way to protect sensitive data given today’s threat environment. However, in spite of the high profile discussions of encryption technology in the media, the majority of Americans still seems uneducated about the benefits of encrypting sensitive account information. A surprising 91% of respondents would still be worried if their personal data was stored in an encrypted file that was stolen as a result of a hack.

“Our survey with Wakefield also shows that there is a disconcerting lack of understanding among the general public about how encryption works,” added Stewart. “Essentially, it makes data totally inaccessible to those without the key required to decode it. Without the key, encrypted data is meaningless to hackers, and when combined with strong access controls, encryption is one of the best tools available for safeguarding sensitive data in this environment.”


The Vormetric Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research among 1,018 nationally representative U.S. adults ages 18+ between October 1st and October 7th 2015, using an email invitation and an online survey. Quotas have been set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the U.S. adult population. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. For the interviews conducted in this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.

About Vormetric

Vormetric’s comprehensive high-performance data security platform helps companies move confidently and quickly. Our seamless and scalable platform is the most effective way to protect data wherever it resides—any file, database and application in any server environment. Advanced transparent encryption, powerful access controls and centralized key management let organizations encrypt everything efficiently, with minimal disruption. Regardless of content, database or application—whether physical, virtual or in the cloud—Vormetric Data Security enables confidence, speed and trust by encrypting the data that builds business. Please visit: and find us on Twitter @Vormetric.

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