What Does "Heartbleed" Mean To Consumers?

With Kristopher Arcand

When news about the Heartbleed bug captured worldwide attention last month, consumers learned that their personal information, initially thought to be secure, had in fact been vulnerable to hackers for years. Arguably the worst Internet breach of all time, the revelation left many questioning what to do next.

To understand how consumer reaction to Heartbleed unfolded, we tuned into online chatter and engaged Forrester’s ConsumerVoices market research online community immediately after the news broke. While Forrester’s social listening data reveals that sentiment of consumer conversation about Heartbleed was consistently negative, online community response tells us that the negativity doesn’t stem purely from shock – rather, from a sense of helplessness and jadedness. 

 

Considering the series of significant data breaches over the past year, it’s all too easy to claim that privacy is dead. However, Forrester believes that privacy is not only possible; it is essential for companies to build trust with their customers. As my colleague Fatemeh Khatibloo says in her recent report, “If you wait for consumers to get annoyed and ask you to change, you’ve missed the chance to build trust with them proactively.” Khatibloo asserts that in the coming years, companies that don’t prioritize their data privacy strategy will suffer increased regulation, publicity nightmares, and customer attrition.

While the threat of hackers violating a digital space exists constantly, a company’s data protection and privacy initiatives are considered differentiators: Those businesses that place their privacy initiatives front and center will win customer favor and trust.

To gain access to Forrester's rich data insights and Technographics 360 approach, contact us at data@forrester.com

To view the social listening and online community findings reagrding consumer response to Heartbleed, see the slideshow below:

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