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Consumers anxious regarding online payment methods

Date posted:  10/8/15 11:45:00 AM Consumers want banks and payment providers to go to special lengths to make sure payments are secure.

It's not just major corporations or small businesses that are anxious about online data breaches; many consumers across the globe are worried their financial information might be stolen by hackers.

According to a survey by Kasper Sky Lab, a security and market research firm, 77 percent of global consumers use multiple devices across different platforms, with 92 percent of those users storing sensitive information on all their devices.

While companies are concerned with bad public relations after an attack, consumers are worried about the potential headaches and disadvantages from a security breach.

"The biggest concern for companies, their boards and senior executives is that being the victim of a cybersecurity event will make headlines for months or years," Kim Peretti, partner at the law firm Alston & Bird LLP, told Inside Counsel. "There's broad exposure for companies, board members may lose jobs. It's now no longer a matter of if a company will be breached, but when, and in some cases, it's not the breach itself but rather a company's response that can land on the front page of the news."

Lillian Ablon, a security researcher at the RAND Corporation, told The New York Times that online security defenders do not have enough firepower to keep up with all of the attackers.

"The ability to attack is certainly outpacing the ability to defend," Ablon said. "We're constantly playing this cat and mouse game, but ultimately companies just patch and pray."

Risks are out there
Polling more than 11,300 shoppers from all over the globe, Kasper Sky Labs found that 75 percent of shoppers want a special solution from banks, electronic payment services and online retailers to keep transactions secure.

That number is probably so high because the survey revealed 40 percent of all respondents said they had witnessed some kind of financial threat on their devices. The report stated Apple users were the most common target among hackers, though that could be due to the widespread popularity - not the lack of security features - of Apple product such as ApplePay.

But how can companies keep financial data more secure? Are there online payment systems for small businesses that are more secure than others? According to Peretti, it takes a village to make sure security breaches don't happen.
"It's not just IT, though that's a core component," Peretti said. "Legal, compliance, human resources, specific lines of business and media relations are all part of it, as are senior executives."

She believes all of these groups need to meet in the middle to help prepare against potential damaging issues.

The safety of sending money
Despite prevailing threats from cyber thieves, 23 percent of global shoppers called electronic payment systems such as e-wallets, BitCoin and PayPal the "most secure way to pay."

Unexpectedly, the results didn't differ much from one age group to the next. Consumers falling in the 25 to 24 and 34 to 44 age demographics were the most likely to trust electronic payment systems, with 25 percent of those shoppers calling electronic payments the safest way to send cash. The oldest age demographic, 45 and up, wasn't far off the pace at 20 percent. The youngest, 16 to 24, showed that 24 percent shared the same sentiment.

Meanwhile, cash was considered the safest method for spending money. Those 16 to 24 were the biggest supporters of cash, though that could be because many teenagers don't have access to credit cards or electronic payment systems. More than 60 percent of 16 to 24 year olds said cash was the safest route for spending money.

The other demographics weren't far off, as more than half of all the other respondents called cash the safest way to spend.