Awareness of online dangers increasing
A new study shows that internet users are becoming more cautious in their behaviors, especially when spending money. For as long as there has been an internet, online security has been paramount, and adjusting behaviors to acknowledge this is a step in the right direction.
The study, conducted by StrategyOne and Edelman, demonstrates that the security of online data is much on the mind of computer users, with respondents made aware of the danger by a series of high profile data breaches and security failures in the news. The data reveals that users are now treating even once-trusted companies with more caution. When asked if they felt more or less secure with their online privacy than they were five years ago, 70 percent of respondents reported feeling less safe. Similarly, 68 percent of users said that they had lost control over how businesses used their information.
The general sentiment of the study, that consumers are more apprehensive than ever about giving out personal information, may demonstrate a maturing awareness of proper internet use. By trusting fewer organizations with personal information, consumers are becoming safer. This, according to the survey, is a pronounced enough effect that companies that conduct business online will have to take it into account or risk losing revenue.
"The message of this study is clear," said Pete Pedersen of Edelman. "Business leaders must begin to think about managing data security and privacy as a core competency - one that has real potential to affect a company's bottom line."
Though caution displayed online and awareness of the dangers of sharing too much data is on the rise, Javelin Strategy's latest online security survey reminded readers that they may be giving away vitally important information about themselves without realizing it. Social networking profiles such as Facebook and LinkedIn reveal information such as school, phone number, pet name or birthday. The Washington Post also reminded readers that the information they reveal can help unauthorized parties guess a password. Many users use only one password for everything online, and a criminal with information about that person's birthday or hobbies could have a far better chance of guessing it. The findings highlight the importance of a difficult-to-guess password, which can be aided by a technological solution like password manager software.