IBM survey reveals pandemic-induced digital reliance creates lingering security side effects

IBM survey reveals pandemic-induced digital reliance creates lingering security side effects

IBM Security today announced the results of a worldwide survey analyzing consumers' digital behaviours throughout the pandemic, in addition to their possible long-term effect on cybersecurity. With society becoming increasingly accustomed to digital-first interactions, the analysis found that tastes for convenience frequently outweighed privacy and security concerns amongst people surveyed - resulting in poor decisions about passwords and other cybersecurity behaviours.

Consumers' lax method of security, together with rapid digital transformation by companies throughout the pandemic, may provide attackers with additional ammunition to disperse cyberattacks across industries - by ransomware to information theft. In accordance with IBM Security X-Force, poor personal security habits might also proceed to the office and may result in costly security events for businesses, together with endangered user credentials representing a few of the greatest origin sources of cyberattacks documented in 2020. 

The International survey of all 22,000 people in 22 markets, conducted by Morning Consult on behalf of IBM Security, identified the subsequent effects of the pandemic on customer safety behaviours:

  • Digital Boom will Outlast Pandemic Protocols: Individuals surveyed created 15 new online accounts throughout the pandemic on average, equating to billions of new accounts created around the globe.  Together with 44% reporting that they don't intend to delete or deactivate these new accounts, those consumers will have a greater digital footprint for years to come, significantly expanding the attack surface for cybercriminals.
  • Account Overload Led into Password Fatigue: The spike in digital accounts resulted in lax password behaviours amongst those surveyed, with 82% of respondents confessing to reusing credentials at least a few of their time. It follows that lots of the new accounts created during the pandemic probably depended on reused email and password combinations, which might have been subjected through data breaches within the last ten years.
  • Convenience Frequently Outweighed Security & Privacy: Over half (51%) of all millennials surveyed would rather place an order with a possibly insecure app or website vs. call or visit a physical place in person. With those users more inclined to overlook safety issues for the ease of digital ordering, the load of safety will probably fall more heavily on businesses supplying these services to prevent fraud.

As customers lean further into electronic interactions, these behaviours also have the capability to spur adoption of emerging technologies in many different configurations -- by telehealth, to electronic identity. 

"The pandemic resulted in a surge in brand new online accounts, but society's growing taste for digital advantage may come at a cost to security and data privacy," said Charles Henderson, Global Managing Partner and Head of IBM Security X-Force.  "Organizations should now think about the ramifications of the digital dependence in their safety risk profile. With passwords getting less and less dependable, one means that organizations can accommodate, past multi-factor authentication, is changing to a 'zero hope' strategy - applying advanced AI and analytics through the procedure to spot potential dangers, instead of assuming an individual is reliable following authentication."

Consumers Report High Expectations for Ease of Access

The poll shed light on many different consumer behaviours affecting the cybersecurity landscape now and moving ahead. As people increasingly leverage digital interactions in more realms of the own lives, the poll discovered that many have become entangled with elevated expectations for ease of use and access.

5 Minute Rule: According to this poll, many adults (59%) expect to invest less than 5 minutes establishing a fresh digital account.

Three strikes you're out: Globally, respondents would try 3-4 logins before resetting their password.  These resets not just cost employers' cash, but they can also pose security threats if used together with an already endangered email accounts.

Committed to Memory: 44% of respondents store online account information in their memory (most frequent way,) while 32% write this information on paper.

Multi-factor authentication: Even though password reuse is a developing problem, including another variable of confirmation for greater risk transactions can help reduce the probability of consideration compromise. The poll found that roughly two-thirds of international respondents had employed multi-factor authentication over the last couple of months of being researched.

Diving Deeper to Digital Healthcare

Throughout the pandemic, digital channels turned into a vital component to deal with huge requirements for COVID-19 vaccines, treatment and testing. Consumers' adoption of a vast array of digital channels for COVID-19 related services, can spur higher digital participation with health care providers moving ahead by decreasing the barrier for entry among new users, based on IBM Security analysis. 

According to this poll:

63% of respondents participated with pandemic-related providers through some Kind of digital channel (internet, mobile app, email, and text message)


While websites apps were the most frequent procedure of digital participation, mobile apps and text messages also obtained considerable use -- with 39% and 20% participating through these stations, respectively.

As health care providers push farther into telemedicine, it is going to become more and more critical due to their safety protocols to be made to withstand this change -- by storing critical IT systems on the web, to protecting sensitive patient information along with lasted HIPAA compliance. This includes information segmentation and implementing rigorous controls to ensure users may only access certain data and systems, restricting the effect of a compromised accounts or apparatus. To get ready for the occasion of ransomware and extortion strikes, patient information must be encrypted, rather constantly, and there has to be dependable backups set up in order that data and systems can be quickly restored with minimal disturbance.

Paving the Way for Digital Credentials

The idea of digital wellbeing moves, or so vaccine passports, introduced customers to a real-world usage case for digital credentials, which provide a technology-based way to confirm certain facets of our individuality. According to the poll, 65% of adults internationally state they are knowledgeable about the idea of digital qualifications, and 76% would be inclined to embrace them when they became generally acceptable.

This vulnerability to the concept of digitized evidence of identity throughout the pandemic might help spur broader adoption of updated systems of electronic identity, which may potentially replace the demand for conventional types of ID such as passports and driver's licenses, providing a way for customers to supply the limited data necessary for a particular transaction. While Implementing a digital type of individuality has the capability to produce a sustainable design for the long run, privacy and security measures have to be put in place to help safeguard against counterfeiting - calling to the capacities of blockchain options to confirm and offer the capacity to update those credentials in case they are jeopardized.

How Organizations Can Adapt to Shifting Consumer Security Landscape

Businesses which are becoming increasingly reliant on digital engagement with customers as a consequence of the pandemic needs to think about the effect that has on their cybersecurity threat profiles. In light of altering consumer behaviours and tastes around digital advantage, IBM Security indicates that associations consider the following safety recommendations:

  • Zero Trust Approach: Given raising risks, companies should think about switching to a "zero trust" security strategy, which functions under the premise that an authenticated identity, or the system itself might already be compromised, and so continuously reinforces the conditions for relationship between consumers, information, and tools to determine authorization and demand. This strategy requires organizations to unify their security data and strategy, with the objective of wrap security circumstance around every consumer, every apparatus, and each interaction.
  • Modernizing Consumer IAM: For businesses that are looking to keep on leveraging digital channels for customer participation, providing a seamless authentication procedure is vital. Purchasing a updated Consumer Identity and Access Management (CIAM) strategy helps companies increase digital participation -- supplying a frictionless user experience across digital platforms and utilizing behavioral analytics to help reduce the probability of fraudulent account usage.
  • Data Protection & Privacy: Using more digital users means that firms will also possess more sensitive customer information to protect. With data breaches costing companies $3.86 million on average among those surveyed,  organizations need to place powerful data protection controls in place to safeguard against unauthorized access -- by tracking data to detect suspicious activity, to encrypting sensitive information where it travels.  Businesses also needs to implement the ideal privacy policies on assumption and at the cloud so as to help maintain consumer confidence.
  • Put Security to the Test: Using use and reliance on digital platforms changing quickly, companies should think about dedicated testing to confirm that the security technologies and strategies they have relied on formerly still maintain in this new landscape. Re-evaluating the effectiveness of incident response plans, and testing software for security vulnerabilities are equally vital elements of this procedure.