New security resolutions for the New Year

2016 was a big year for security, with a number of high profile hacks reported on companies such as Yahoo!, Three, TalkTalk and Tesco.

New security resolutions for the New Year

However, despite these hacks occurring with increasing regularity, consumers, banks, and other organisations remain on the back foot when tackling the issue effectively. In fact, research by Intelligent Environments shows that more than one in ten (14 per cent) consumers haven’t altered how often they change their PINs, despite them being victims of fraud. Additionally, 21 per cent of consumers admitted to sharing their PINs with colleagues, friends or family members to withdraw money on their behalf, an act which we are warned against regularly. 

For many people, the problem of too many passwords is a reality, with our research indicating 34 per cent of people admitting to writing their passwords down somewhere in order to remember them. Today, most passwords are required to be long and unique for each different account, with some organisations suggesting changes every 30 days. For most people, this is just not realistic, especially as the average citizen in the UK is registered on over 90 accounts, a number that is doubling every 5 years, according to password management company, Dashlane. It comes as no surprise then, that people are writing passwords down to keep track of which is for online banking, and which is for their magazine subscription.

Thankfully, for most in the UK, there is an awareness that this issue needs to be addressed, with 60 per cent of consumers surveyed stating personal data security is now on their radar due to the growing number of high profile hacks. Encouragingly, 23 per cent said one of their New Year’s resolutions is to become more prudent with their personal security. Let’s hope this is a resolution that people choose to keep.

Committing to change is a positive step forward, however, this is not a full proof defence. What more can be done to assist the consumer to ensure their personal data remains secure? Ultimately, banks and other organisations who hold sensitive data need to implement more robust security measures against hacking and cybercrime.

With technology advancing so quickly, and hackers becoming more sophisticated, a change in both consumer attitude towards passwords and PINs, and the way banks and other organisations protect personal data, are the first steps in reducing instances of hacking and cybercrime. Reassuringly, people are beginning to acknowledge the need to take more responsibility in the protection of their data and if everyone is able to take small steps to protect themselves in 2017, it will make a significant difference in the fight against cybercrime.