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FireEye study reveals impact of a cyberattack on consumer loyalty

Richard Turner, FireEye
Richard Turner, FireEye

A recent study carried out by FireEye revealed that data breaches significantly dent consumer trust in major brands.

With a number of high-profile breaches taking place on a global scale, the findings highlight rising concerns over the issue of cybersecurity and how public perception of a company is altered in the event of a breach, with 46 percent of consumers in the UAE stating that their view of a company subjected to an attack would be unfavourable.

Further insights from the study underscored the value of a sound cybersecurity strategy to consumers. 21 percent of respondents reported that data security was of utmost importance when purchasing from a company. 57 percent of respondents said they would stop purchasing from a compromised company and take legal action, while a mere 18 percent stated that they would continue to purchase from the company, but seek compensation through legal action.

“Data breaches have become far more commonplace than they used to be, with a host of actors ranging from single attackers to entire organisations now involved,” says Richard Turner, President, EMEA, FireEye. “The stature of the UAE as a hub for finance, retail and energy has grown exponentially over the years and has made it an enticing target for myriad cyberthreat groups. While the risk to a company’s finances and intellectual property are evident in the event of a breach, this survey highlights the hidden cost of cyberattacks on businesses, with customers less likely to buy from companies with a poor reputation for security, long after the actual incident has taken place. The findings from this survey reveal key lessons for boardroom executives who would be well-advised to take a much more proactive role in cybersecurity strategy. It’s also interesting to see that consumers are increasingly valuing attention to data security and base their purchasing decisions with this in mind. While companies have long viewed data security as a cost, it is now presenting an opportunity for them to attract a new and growing type of customer who wants assurance that their data is safe when dealing with companies.”

The study further revealed that almost three-quarters (73 percent) of respondents reported that they would no longer be inclined to use the products/ services of an organisation that was breached. It also found that almost half (46 percent) of UAE consumers feel more negatively about organisations that have been breached.

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