Financial Account Security Causing the Greatest Angst, Survey Says

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Since 2007, security services provider Unisys has measured the level of security concerns among consumers. Unisys claims its “Security Index” is the longest-running snapshot of consumer views regarding security from around the world.

The index is a calculated score out of 3,002 that measures consumer attitudes, over time, across eight areas of security in four categories: national security, financial security, internet security, and identity theft. The 2019 Security Index is based on national surveys of representative samples of 13,598 adults aged 18 to 64.

The survey found that, of the four categories, financial Security remains the category with the highest level of concern globally, reaching 180 out of a score of 300. The report finds, and I’m glad to see it, that consumers are suspicious of the newer financial tech applications for payments and banking that are on the market.

We covered this last year, in our post When it Comes to Application Security, Banks Pay Little Interest. In that blog, based on application security research conducted on the external security of web applications, APIs, and mobile apps from large financial organizations found known and exploitable vulnerabilities.

Then, the oldest unpatched vulnerability they found dated back to a public disclosure in 2011. The survey found that 92% of mobile banking applications contain at least one medium-risk security vulnerability. One-hundred percent of the banks reviewed were found to have security vulnerabilities or issues related directly to forgotten subdomains. While 85 e-banking web applications failed a GDPR compliance test, 49 e-banking web applications failed their PCI DSS compliance test, and 25 e-banking web applications were, astonishingly, not protected by a Web Application Firewall.

“Globally, new payment solutions such as apps and fingerprint and face recognition technology also bring with them new security concerns. Large majorities of consumers in Mexico believe that fingerprint technology will increase their financial security, but one-quarter is concerned it would bring new risks of hacking or fraud from cybercriminals,” the report said. Unfortunately, Belgian consumers feel much the same way and have concerns that their smart payment devices will soon be compromised. 

The Unisys report concluded that businesses and government regulatory agencies should consider what more they can do to provide consumers with the resources they need to protect themselves from bank card fraud better. Not surprisingly, bankcard fraud concerns are most serious within Latin America within Colombia, Mexico, and Chile.

In the U.S., many consumers are not concerned about credit card transaction fraud because of zero risk liability with most credit cards.

Unisys said that, with “Latin America making significant moves toward widespread digital payment systems and global major payment giants increasing their presence in the region, consumer confidence there is more critical than ever.” And that’s certainly true not only there, but it’s also true everywhere.

The report revealed significant concerns when it comes to internet security and cited increased mobility, as well as new IoT devices coming to market. “However, the increase in new technology and the increasing amounts of data collected has left consumers in support of a more secure and

controlled internet. Technological developments related to the Internet of Things (IoT) offer efficient solutions to consumers globally, but these solutions come with security concerns,” the report found.

What concerns? Respondents in the U.K. and the Netherlands are worried that their voice-controlled technology is listening to them. When it comes to the Germans, they fear the safety of smart cars and drones. So are the Belgians, as well as IoT devices within their homes being hacked. In total, 63% of consumers said that they are seriously concerned about virus and hacking threats of Viruses/Hacking, and 57% about online shopping and banking risks.