Press release

F‑Secure builds seamless protection for personal data into Touch ’n Go eWallet

Sep 18, 2023
4 min read

More than three quarters (77%) of adults surveyed in the UK, Germany, Sweden and Finland rarely, or never, check if their data has been stolen or leaked.

The vast majority of internet users (68%)* cannot accurately define the dark web, a destination for buying stolen data.

Helsinki, Finland – September 18, 2023: New research indicates at least 1 in 6 adults surveyed have had personal data leaked in the past year. Yet, more than three quarters (77%) still rarely, or never, check if their data has been stolen or leaked.

Most internet users remain in the dark about the dark web — which among other things is a destination for cyber criminals to buy stolen personal data. While most — 80% of those surveyed — have heard of the dark web, only 32% accurately answered that the dark web is a part of the Internet that can only be accessed using special browsers.

The research, conducted among 5,000 adults by Census­wide and commissioned by F‑Secure, a global leader in cyber security, found that in addition to the 1 in 6 who report that their data has leaked online in the last twelve months, nearly 4 in 10 (39%) said they don’t know if their data has leaked.**

Yet few appear unconcerned about the risks of the dark web with slightly over a quarter (26%) saying they worry about their data going on there, and many naively believing that they can remove their data from it. However, the reality is that once data is on the dark web, it’s just about impossible to get it off, leaving many victims trapped in a virtually endless cycle of their information being sold. There is also a mistaken belief that the dark web is monitored and policed for data leaks. A third (36%) would call the police if hacked — however, data being compromised isn’t always a police matter.

The research comes as a report by Nilson Report found $32.34 billion was stolen by criminals through fraud in 2022 — the equivalent to $61,529 every minute.

While the dark web isn’t all crime and illicit behavior, security experts at F‑Secure are warning that consumers are not taking their data security as seriously as necessary.

With increased digital trans­formation and high-profile data breaches happening with global brands the availability of personal data on the dark web is set to become even greater. F‑Secure experts warn that consumer apathy about the dark web and data leaks could lead to financial and online identity difficulties for many if we don’t start checking our data security on a more regular basis.

Tom Gaffney, Principal Consultant at F‑Secure, comments: Data leaks can happen to anyone, leading to identity theft, financial fraud, and other forms of cyber crime. This emphasizes the need for individuals to be proactive in safe­guarding their data and under­standing the steps they can take to mitigate risks. Almost a third of adults surveyed (30%) don’t know what action they can take to mitigate the risks of their data being on the dark web. We must work together to change that.

The dark web uses technology that allows anonymity. Sites found on the dark web are not indexed by conventional search engines and when a data breach happens, personal details often end up on this part of the internet, where they are sold to criminals. Once data is in the hands of a cyber criminal it means a heightened risk of identity theft and financial fraud. Often individuals are unaware of this until they are refused credit or a mortgage application, at which point it’s often too late.

To help mitigate the risks, Tom offers 3 tips:

  • Regularly check to see if your data has been compromised using free online tools such as F‑Secure’s ID Theft Checker. It takes less than five minutes to check if you’ve been compromised and it doesn’t cost any­thing to do so.

  • After receiving your report, change the pass­words for the sites that may have been compromised. Use a good pass­word manager to create strong individual pass­words for each site. Never use the same pass­word for multiple sites.

  • Contact the companies where your data has been compromised, especially if it’s your credit or debit card.

To check if your data has been compromised visit F‑Secure’s free Identity Theft Checker tool.

*The inverse of 32% who accurately selected A part of the internet only accessible through special browsers (Germany) or The part of the internet that you can only access using specialised browsers (UK, Sweden, Finland).

**Source: Census­wide survey commissioned by F‑Secure (2023), four countries (United Kingdom, Finland, Germany, Sweden), sample size 2,000/UK and 1,000/Finland, Sweden, Germany, total 5,000 respondents.


F‑Secure makes every digital moment more secure, for every­one. We deliver brilliantly simple, friction­less security experiences that make life easier for the tens of millions of people we protect and our 200+ service provider partners. For more than 30 years, we’ve led the cyber security industry, inspired by a pioneering spirit born out of a shared commitment to do better by working together.