One in five European citizens has admitted to being unaware of whether their personal data is being held ‘in the cloud'.

Research released by the Business Software Alliance (BSA) also showed that 60 per cent of people in Germany, France, Poland, Spain and the UK are confused over where their online data is stored. The European Cyber Security Awareness Day, held earlier this week in Brussels, was designed as a ‘unique opportunity to improve understanding of emerging information security developments and the challenges created by an increasingly connected world'.

Francisco Mingorance, senior director of government relations at the BSA, said: “Most Europeans are looking for global leadership and collaboration to protect their personal information from hackers and cyber criminals. BSA is responding to these concerns by preparing a global cyber security policy framework that can help guide future international cooperation on securing the online environment.”

John Turner, vice president for Symantec EMEA, said: “Online risks and threats are continuing to evolve and grow in volume, sophistication, size and scale. Online criminal organisations are running a thriving, sophisticated underground economy where European citizens' information is a valuable commodity and sold at the best price to online criminal gangs.”

Matt Thomlinson, general manager of product security at Microsoft, said: “Enabling a safer, more trusted, connected society is a shared challenge for government, industry, and consumers. Innovative approaches to reducing risk and increasing resiliency require trusted public private partnerships.”