How Do You Protect Users Who Hesitate To Protect Themselves?

Posted on July 20th 2013

How Do You Protect Users Who Hesitate To Protect Themselves?

Three years ago, we started Impermium because we saw a gap in the protection provided to users of online services. As more and more people rely increasingly on the web for communication and commerce, this gap has only grown. The bad guys are getting smarter and, as recent incidents have shown, users are more vulnerable than ever.

We know that account compromise is a growing concern. But we haven’t really been able to gauge how users feel about it. So last month, we worked with Harris Interactive to poll online users.

The results revealed a deep concern around online security:

  • 79% of users are worried about their email account security, 55% worry about social media accounts and 71% worry about the security of their online banking accounts;
  • 56% report having a virus or malware on their computer;
  • 37% have fallen victim to phishing attacks and 20% have been victimized by social media phishing attacks;
  • 26% have had their account hacked.

At the same time, users are reluctant to adopt new security measures:

  • 27% don’t use two-factor authentication because they don’t want to share their mobile numbers;
  • 39% blame the websites for security breaches;
  • 37% say weak passwords are to blame for breaches.

This creates a significant barrier to security: people recognize security as a concern, but are not willing to adopt measures to protect themselves. Two-factor authentication has been hailed as a ‘silver bullet,’ but a security system that isn’t turned on provides no security. The poll confirmed what our instincts told us: there is a growing gap and accounts are increasingly vulnerable.

So what is the answer? Consumers, websites and services need an intelligent solution that is secure, yet simple. Only with intelligent, risk based authentication mechanisms can service providers effectively protect users from account hijacking. It is incumbent upon service providers, sites and third party security companies to protect users. And current measures aren’t working.

The results of the poll have served to reinforce and reinvigorate our work at Impermium. Over the next few months, we are focusing on building out our algorithms, using our unique data stream to gain insights into legitimate internet usage and catch more bad guys. At the same time, we’ll be working on how to more smoothly integrate with existing service providers like Box, Salesforce and Google as well as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Finally, with the user in mind, we’ll be looking at our front end interface. How can we make sure that our service is accessible, welcoming and easy to use?

At the end of the day, we want to offer a product and service that is unique, effective and easy to use. Because that is what users deserve.

The post How Do You Protect Users Who Hesitate To Protect Themselves? appeared first on Impermium.


Mark Risher

CEO, Impermium

Mark Risher is CEO and Co-Founder of Impermium. As the former “Spam Czar” for Yahoo!, he has regularly presented worldwide to government, industry, and consumer groups about spam, abuse, and cyber security issues.

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