The vast majority of Brits believe that cybercriminals have probably already stolen their data and they want tighter legislation for better protection.
According to new research by endpoint threat prevention, detection and response firm Bit 9 + Carbon Black, the recent numerous instances of high-profile data breaches are leading to increased fear in the public that businesses are unable to protect personal data.
The company surveyed 2000 UK consumers, of which 73% says the time it is taking organisations to realise they have been hacked is 'unacceptable' while 81% are concerned their details have already been stolen but not yet discovered.
In response to this, the British public wants to see harsher penalties put in place for organisations which are breached but didn't detect it as soon as they could have done.
Meanwhile, 81% of respondents believe victims of data breaches should be compensated by the affected organisation, 59% want to see fines levied on such organisations, 40% of which think these fines should be unlimited and 7% want to see those culpable within a business for the breach to do jail time.
"The data that companies keep about their customers is a highly valuable commodity in today's connected world, providing access to our bank accounts, shopping habits and even our very identity," claimed Bit 9 + Carbon Black managing director EMEA David Flower.
"High-profile data breaches at the like of Target and even more recently Ashley Madison have raised public awareness about the risks they are exposed to by the actions of cybercriminals seeking to steal their data.
"Consumers feel that it is taking organisations far too long to detect a breach; if they can detect it at all, which is putting them at unnecessary risk. The demands for tougher penalties are an eye-opening indication of they way things could be headed if businesses don't sit up and take note of these concerns," he added.