Web shoppers want security

Web shoppers want security

Most people who shop online want their data to be more secure

More than half of online consumers think that not enough is being done to protect their personal information, according to a survey published today.

Some 57 per cent of the almost 2,000 citizens polled by YouGov claim that banks and government are not looking after their data. More than three quarters (78 per cent) are concerned about identity theft, and 43 per cent have experienced it or know someone who has.

“We are seeing more theft of consumers’ personal information,” says the YouGov report.

“Online customers are becoming more aware of the risks of passing details to sites that might not be secure.

“It is the organisations themselves that will fail to benefit because they will lose out on an increasingly sceptical customer base who expect their online safety to be taken care of,” it says.

The average exposure of online consumers in the UK is worth £10,077 ­ based on the sums held in web accounts of all sorts from banking to gambling, according to the study.

“It is no surprise that online banks and retailers are among the most popular targets for identity theft as so many personal details are required,” it says.

“And as online transactions increase, we need to acknowledge the importance of both technology and consumer behaviour in protecting personal details and monetary assets online.”

But the picture is not entirely consistent. Some 65 per cent of respondents admitted sharing personal information online with their bank, 58 per cent with online retailers and 31 per cent with social networking sites such as Facebook.

The problem is awareness, said privacy firm Garlik’s chief executive Tom Ilube.

“People are concerned, but it does not mean that they will do anything about it,” he said.

“Consumers are still unclear about the security options available and how to use them.”

There are technical solutions, such as two-factor authentication systems increasingly used by banks and validation certificates that show visitors sites are secure.

But major leaps in security can also drive customers away.

“Customers prioritise speed and convenience over security, so if a new gadget or application gets in the way, they will not use it,” said Ilube.

The YouGov survey was commissioned by software supplier Verisign.