Data Breaches Escalate, but Behavior Remains the Same

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In 2014, over 78 million records containing personal information have been exposed in a breach. And, nearly 520 million financial records were stolen in the last 12 months. Yet, it would appear that consumers’ security behaviors remain unchanged.

A fresh survey from RSA and the Ponemon Institute has found that nearly half of respondents had fallen victim to at least one data breach—and 45% say they are not confident they know all instances of when their personal information has been leaked. But while many of the respondents showed a boosted concern around security, not many practice changes are being made on the part of consumers.

In fact, there is an inclination to increase online behaviors that have proven risky, like online shopping, and an overwhelming unwillingness to change risky behavior. A full 48% admit to online shopping on a weekly basis, and while respondents rated security expectations high for activities like online banking and mobile transactions, security expectations for online shopping were shockingly low. 

Even with expectations being low, so many being personally affected by data breaches, and the wave of retail data breaches involving payment card information, 45% of the respondents say that it has no effect on their use of credit or debit cards.

Meanwhile, according to RSA’s Anti-Fraud Command Center, during the first six months of 2014 33% of banking transactions originated in the mobile channel, which marks an increase of 20% from 2013 and a 67% increase from 2012. One out of four fraud transactions originated in the mobile channel — showing a significant increase in mobile fraud.

Of all of the online activities measured in the Ponemon survey, making mobile payments ranked highest on the list in terms of expectations of security, yet 77% admit to not trusting the security of mobile apps and only 35% say that they always read permissions of apps being downloaded.

And finally, it comes as no surprise that weak authentication is still an issue among most consumers, with 62% expressing a lack of trust in websites that only require a username and password at login.  While 71% of respondents say they are most concerned about losing their password in a data breach, nearly a third admit to having only one to two passwords for all online accounts; 69% admit to using the same password for more than one device or site; and only 54% say that they regularly change their passwords. 

When questioned about preferred authentication methods, a majority of respondents cited software tokens and/or biometrics (voice and fingerprint verification) as the ideal ways to manage identities.

 “As the capabilities and convenience of the Internet continue to grow, so do consumer security concerns,” said Brian Fitzgerald, vice president of marketing at RSA. “The results of the Ponemon Study show that while these concerns are top of mind, behaviors and attitudes of consumers are not changing. It is incumbent upon the industry, to deliver on promises of strong and convenient security methods to help customers take advantage of the Internet while significantly limiting the risk of threats — both simple and sophisticated.”

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