Online security is of the utmost importance to any organization that transacts with its customers over the Internet or allows its employees to use the Internet to access internal networks. As the number of online customers is growing, so is their fear of fraud and identity theft and although certainly not the only ones affected, organizations with e-commerce and financial websites are most affected by these fears.
Rapid growth in online transactions
The rate at which consumers are adopting online banking and bill-payment services in the U.S. ranks these two activities among the fastest growing on the Internet. A 2013 report by Pew Research Center reveals that 51 percent of U.S. adults and 61 percent of Internet users now bank online and mobile banking use is showing the fastest growth.
Growing consumer concern
Yet, despite these growth numbers, the studies point out that Internet users have growing concerns about unauthorized access to their personal and financial information and the compromising of other personal data that criminals can use to steal identities and inflict serious damage to their finances and credit.
The U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that in 2012 16.6 million Americans fell victim to personal identity theft with financial losses totaling $24.7 billion, over $10 billion more than the losses attributed to all other property crimes.
Phishing still stands as the top online threat impacting both consumers and the businesses that serve them online. In 2012 RSA, a subsidiary of EMC Corporation, identified an average of over 37,000 phishing attacks each month.
Password protection the Achilles' heel
Password protection has consistently proven to be the Achilles' heel of security plans crafted by companies serving their customers online. Everything from basic phishing attacks to advanced malware variants are predicated on the notion that login credentials are the weakest link in the data security chain. The problem has only grown worse following the rise of smartphones, tablets and the multi-device business professional.
Research by McAfee Avert Labs and others on global identity theft trends uncovered a dramatic increase in online and computer-based identity theft through the use of key loggers. According to the report, the use of key loggers — malicious software code that tracks typing activity to capture user IDs, passwords and other sensitive information — has shown dramatic and sustained growth..
Internet increasingly viewed as unsafe
According to a study by Trend Micro in the U.S., only 53% of respondents viewed the Internet as being "very safe" but that number drops dramatically to 32% when respondents were asked if they think the Internet will be more or less safe in the near future. Similarly, in Germany, only 43% believe the Internet to be "very safe" but that number drops to 18% when asked about the safety of the Internet in the near future.
And this growing fear is costing organizations a significant amount of money. (see Boosting Confidence