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RSA Security Consumer Study Reveals Major Concerns Over Online Security and Identity Protection

  • 15 February, 2005 09:02

<p>RSA® CONFERENCE 2005, SAN FRANCISCO, February 14, 2005 – An annual study released today by RSA Security Inc. (Nasdaq: RSAS) showed continuing reluctance by consumers to conduct personal business online due to security concerns, with nearly one-fourth reducing their online shopping and one-fifth refusing to work with their financial institutions over the Internet. More than half of all respondents believe that widely-used user ID/password protection schemes are not enough for the protection of online information.</p>
<p>“Clearly there’s a lot of work to be done if businesses want to build more online trust with consumers. While awareness of threats remains high, consumer confidence in dealing with those threats is low,” said John Worrall, vice president of worldwide marketing at RSA Security. “The message here is simple: if organisations want their customers to do business with them online, they need to implement stronger forms of information security. In the battle to win over the confidence of online customers, it’s obvious that traditional passwords are the main enemy.”</p>
<p>Consumer Trust Affecting Online Purchases and Banking</p>
<p>The third annual study, commissioned by RSA Security and conducted by Opinion Research Corporation, was initiated to explore consumers’ current attitudes, perceptions and security practices – and how these have changed over the last two years. More than 1,000 consumers were asked a variety of questions relating to awareness of security issues, feelings of safety, and use of available safeguards against identity theft and computer attacks.</p>
<p>When asked the question “How informed are you about identity theft issues now when compared to a year ago,” 61 percent of respondents considered themselves “More Informed.” However, only 18 percent of adults feel safer, and 23 percent actually feel more vulnerable than they did in 2004. In addition, 25 percent of respondents have reduced their online purchases in the past year, and 21 percent refuse to conduct business with their financial institutions online. Another 43 percent refuse to give out personal information to online merchants. “In order to move from awareness to confidence, consumers need to see evidence that business is taking action to protect personal information,” added Worrall.</p>
<p>Passwords Increasingly Seen as Key Area of Vulnerability</p>
<p>The study also asked for opinions relating to traditional user ID/password security schemes, with more than half of all respondents (53 percent) believing that these do not provide enough protection for online information. According to the survey, poor management of PINs and passwords for access to online services, desktop computer systems, ATMs and other electronic accounts is a major vulnerability. More than two in three respondents (65 percent) use fewer than five passwords for all electronic information access, and 15 percent use a single password for everything. These numbers are identical to the 2004 figures. “The majority of consumers are aware of the problems associated with passwords, but until they are presented with a reliable, easy-to-use alternative, they’re going to continue to exhibit poor password management practices,” Worrall said.</p>
<p>Internet service providers and financial institutions are beginning to offer users the option of stronger forms of authentication. In late 2004, for example, America Online launched a premium service in conjunction with RSA Security called AOLâ Passcode, providing members with the option of a second level of protection beyond passwords. “We’ve seen the beginnings of a trend toward the widespread replacement of passwords with better authentication methods,” said Worrall. “And its continuation will help bridge the gap between consumer awareness of identity theft and actual protection against it.”</p>
<p>Other findings in the study:</p>
<p>Consumers continue to express concerns over sharing personal information with online merchants. The 2004 survey showed 44 percent were unwilling to do so, compared to 43 percent this year.
Consumers believe that the primary responsibility for identity theft protection lies with both individuals and their financial institutions. When asked the question “Which of the following are ‘Very Responsible’ for protecting you against identity theft,” 61 percent listed themselves and 52 percent listed banks/financial institutions (more than one response was permitted).
Nearly 70 percent of the respondents do not feel that companies they do business with online are doing enough to protect personal information.</p>
<p>Survey Methodology</p>
<p>The eleven-question survey on consumer attitudes, perceptions and security practices was conducted nationwide, by telephone, with 1,022 adults from February 3-6, 2005 by Opinion Research Corporation. The margin of error is plus or minus three percent for results based on the entire sample. A full copy of the survey results can be obtained by sending an email to</p>
<p>About RSA Security Inc.</p>
<p>RSA Security Inc. helps organisations confidently protect identities and information access. The company secures more than 15 million user identities, safeguards trillions of business transactions annually, and manages the confidentiality of data in tens of thousands of applications worldwide. RSA Security’s portfolio of award-winning solutions – including identity &amp; access management, secure mobile &amp; remote access, secure enterprise access, secure transactions and consumer identity protection – sets the standard in the industry. Our strong reputation is built on a 20-year history of ingenuity, leadership and proven technologies, and our more than 17,000 customers around the globe. Together with more than 1,000 technology and integration partners, RSA Security inspires confidence in everyone to experience the power and promise of the Internet. For more information, please visit</p>
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<p>RSA, RSA Security, the RSA logo and Confidence Inspired are either registered trademarks or trademarks of RSA Security Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. All other products and services mentioned are trademarks of their respective companies</p>

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