Outdated cybersecurity tech “betrays the trust of consumers”

Consumers have developed a heightened awareness of cybersecurity attacks and appear ready to accept ongoing risks as the new normal, claims a new report

Consumers are ready to embrace stronger security measures and expect the businesses they hold accounts with to meet them halfway to secure their identities, according to new research.

The Era of the Zero Trust Consumer report -  published by digital identity company Daon - shows 92 per cent of consumers believe cybersecurity threats will continue to outpace cybersecurity technology, with 91 per cent willing to take extra security measures to prove their identity on an ongoing basis to protect their information and accounts.

These and other findings in the report reveal consumers are acknowledging a high-risk environment when conducting different aspects of their lives online, say the report authors, and these attitudes signal the emergence of “Zero Trust Consumers”.

The report is based on a survey of over 2,000 US and over 1,000 UK consumers conducted in October this year. Daon  says it shows consumers may be accepting the reality of ongoing cybersecurity threats in the same way that businesses are adopting a Zero Trust Architecture. In the enterprise, a Zero Trust Architecture acknowledges constant and ever-changing cybersecurity risks.

“As online breaches, hacks, and fraud targeting businesses, governments and consumers continue to escalate both in frequency and sophistication, consumers are showing a growing awareness of these threats and a determination to do what is necessary to secure their accounts and information,” says Tom Grissen, CEO at Daon. 

“This emerging state of consumer awareness is what we’re calling Zero Trust Consumers. The lack of trust is primarily about cybercriminals, but it doesn’t need to apply to businesses. Businesses that deploy advanced technology to prove and continually authenticate identities at every trust point across the customer lifecycle will ensure a trust relationship with their customers.”

Passwords are most used, yet least trusted security measures

Despite mounting industry and consumer pressure to move beyond vulnerable passwords, the report shows that passwords persist as the industry standard, with 68 per cent of consumers saying they are both their most used and least trusted security measure. 

This expectation holds especially true for their digital financial accounts, where increasing reliance on financial technology has left consumers concerned for the safety of financial information and money – 93 per cent expect stronger security measures, but passwords with one-time codes and simple passwords are still the most used methods of protecting this vital information.

Nearly half (48 per cent) of respondents have experienced a breach or hack of an online account in the past five years, and 44 per cent have experienced financial fraud, leading to a greater understanding of the reality of security threats and a strong willingness to embrace more advanced, passwordless technology. A total of 81 per cent say they would be willing to use facial or voice recognition when accessing accounts for better security.

But consumers who are looking for a more secure digital future expect companies to meet them halfway on securing their accounts and information, with 54 per cent saying companies and consumers hold an equal responsibility for protecting their identity.

“The report findings overwhelmingly show that reliance on outdated security technology betrays the trust of consumers who both understand and embrace the reality of security threats,” says Grissen. “We’ve seen many major industry players already pushing for higher standards of security through initiatives like passkeys, and it shows businesses are now at an inflection point, where they must understand that the path to trust with their customers is through understanding their customers’ views of threats.”

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