Kaspersky Lab  has revealed a new survey report, which shows that 81 percent of Americans and 72 percent of Canadians admit to feeling stressed by the news of data breaches. The Kaspersky Lab report, “The State of Cyber-Stress,” found that consumers’ lack of awareness of how to protect themselves from online threats is leading to increased stress levels around technology usage and cybersecurity as a whole.

To quantify the impact of online threats on people’s stress levels, Kaspersky Lab surveyed over 2,000 consumers in North America on their attitudes towards cybersecurity and what actions they take to protect their data. As consumers have become increasingly reliant on digital devices to store personal information, millions of people have concurrently become the victim of a data breach in recent years. The pervasive threat of losing personal data to a cyberattack can be a daunting uncertainty, and it is leading to chronic stress.

The report revealed that in addition to data breaches causing cyber-stress, choosing secure passwords and keeping track of login information for a growing number of online accounts can be overwhelming – especially for younger generations. Nearly half (46 percent) of consumers aged 16 to 24 said that they often find it stressful to manage the number of passwords they have. According to experts, this constant pressure to protect digital data is a catalyst for health issues relating to cyber-stress.

“Research has shown that it’s not the big, acute, one-time challenges that cause the majority of stress-related disease and disorder, but the everyday, nagging, accumulating pressure and tension we feel when we don’t have enough capacity to cope with the demands of life,” explained Heidi Hanna, Ph.D., executive director of the American Institute of Stress. “Especially when we feel unsafe, out of control, or unable to keep up with the pace of change, something that is inherent in our constantly-connected, digital lifestyle.”

While these levels of cyber-stress may seem excessive to some, the research revealed that consumers’ fears about becoming the next victim of a cyberattack are justified. Kaspersky Lab found that 46 percent of survey respondents have experienced at least one cybersecurity issue in the last five years. Furthermore, a small percentage of people – 14 percent of Americans and six percent of Canadians – admitted to facing four or more cybersecurity issues in the last five years.

Becoming the victim of a cyberattack can add to the ongoing anxiety people feel around cybersecurity. A third of people surveyed (33 percent) claim that they often find it stressful protecting all their devices when they have experienced a cybersecurity issue in the last five years.

For more information, read the full Kaspersky Lab report, “The State of Cyber-Stress.”