IBM Survey: Pandemic-Induced Digital Reliance Creates Lingering Security Side Effects
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 15, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) Security today announced the results of a global survey examining consumers' digital behaviors during the pandemic, as well as their potential long-term impact on cybersecurity. With society becoming increasingly accustomed to digital-first interactions, the study found that preferences for convenience often outweighed security and privacy concerns among individuals surveyed – leading to poor choices around passwords and other cybersecurity behaviors.
Consumers' lax approach to security, combined with rapid digital transformation by businesses during the pandemic, may provide attackers with further ammunition to propagate cyberattacks across industries – from ransomware to data theft. According to IBM Security X-Force, bad personal security habits may also carry over to the workplace and can lead to costly security incidents for companies, with compromised user credentials representing one of the top root sources of cyberattacks reported in 2020.1
The global survey2 of 22,000 individuals in 22 markets, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IBM Security, identified the following effects of the pandemic on consumer security behaviors:
As consumers lean further into digital interactions, these behaviors also have the potential to spur adoption of emerging technologies in a variety of settings – from telehealth, to digital identity.3
"The pandemic led to a surge in new online accounts, but society's growing preference for digital convenience may come at a cost to security and data privacy," said Charles Henderson, Global Managing Partner and Head of IBM Security X-Force. "Organizations must now consider the effects of this digital dependence on their security risk profile. With passwords becoming less and less reliable, one way that organizations can adapt, beyond multi-factor authentication, is shifting to a zero trust approach – applying advanced AI and analytics throughout the process to spot potential threats, rather than assuming a user is trusted after authentication."
Consumers Report High Expectations for Ease of Access
Diving Deeper into Digital Healthcare
As healthcare providers push further into telemedicine, it will become increasingly important for their security protocols to be designed to withstand this shift – from keeping critical IT systems online, to protecting sensitive patient data and continued HIPAA compliance. This includes data segmentation and implementing strict controls so that users can only access specific systems and data, limiting the impact of a compromised account or device. To prepare for the event of ransomware and extortion attacks, patient data should be encrypted, preferably at all times, and there must be reliable backups in place so that systems and data can be quickly restored with minimal interruption.
Paving the Way for Digital Credentials
This exposure to the idea of digitized proof of identity during the pandemic may help spur wider adoption of modernized systems of digital identity, which could potentially replace the need for traditional forms of ID like passports and driver's licenses, offering a way for consumers to provide the limited information required for a specific transaction. While leveraging a digital form of identity has the potential to create a sustainable model for the future, security and privacy measures must be put in place to help protect against counterfeiting – calling for the capabilities of blockchain solutions to verify and provide the ability to update these credentials in the event they are compromised.
How Organizations Can Adapt to Shifting Consumer Security Landscape
To view the full report, please visit: http://ibm.biz/IBMSecurity_ConsumerSurvey
About IBM Security
Report Methodology: A global survey was conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IBM in March 2021. The study was conducted among 22,000 adults in 22 markets (1,000 respondents per market) including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, UK, US, Middle East, Central & Eastern Europe, Nordics, and BNL (Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg).
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