Unisys released its annual Security Index report that offers a snapshot of the nation’s sense of security. The war on terror is less of a concern than in the past but consumers are more concerned with bank card fraud and identity theft.
According to the report, 45% of those surveyed reported being extremely concerned about national security concerns related to the war on terrorism, a figure that has decreased over the three-ear period from 2011 to 2013. More interesting, however, is that national security concerns have fallen behind concerns over bank card fraud and identity theft, which are first and second respectively.
While there has been a decrease in serious financial concern from 2012 to 2013, there is still a great deal of apprehension at the prospect of people obtaining and using credit cards fraudulently.
Accompanying the American public’s concerns of financial security is a significant trepidation— 35% reporting being seriously concerned— associated with spam and viruses. Moreover, one-third of respondents reported being seriously concerned with the security of shopping and banking online.
In terms of personal security, identity theft remains a constant point of worry for the public, and while extreme concern has dropped, moderate worry remains. Specifically, identity theft as it relates to bankcard fraud is the leading source of apprehension.
The results of Unisys’ Security Index 2013 indicate bank card fraud, identity theft and national security are the top security concerns for Americans. The survey shows 52% of Americans are seriously concerned about other people obtaining or using their credit/debit card details. A majority of those surveyed (54%) are also extremely concerned about identity theft that could lead to unauthorized access or misuse of personal information.
In an increasingly connected society the prospect of losing valuable data and assets to cybercrime is a serious concern, and the Unisys report suggests that businesses must review and enhance existing security measures and prescribes the following:
- Gain continued visibility into security gaps and remedial activities
- Shield against evolving cyber and physical threats
- Ensure business objectives are met within the enterprise’s security, compliance and governance framework
Unisys is also mindful of the advent of cloud computing and a growing connectivity between companies, institutions and individuals. A concern for government and commercial organizations alike, Unisys stresses that security has never been a more urgent and visible issue.
Part and parcel to a hostile IT ecosystem, are vulnerable mobile devices, poorly authenticated users and weaknesses in data and application security. Unisys reveals that proper protection in such an ecosystem is no longer a simple matter of securing the IT network perimeter.
The current Unisys Security Index of 120 indicates a decrease from 2012’s score of 131. Also, the current score of 120 marks the lowest level of concern since the survey was introduced in 2007. Decreases in all four of the targeted areas has yielded an 11-point drop in the 2013 Unisys Security Index:
- National Security Index: 118 (Down 18 points)
- Internet Security Index: 110 (Down 9 points)
- Financial Security Index: 129 (Down 11 points)
- Personal Security Index: 121 (Down 9 points)
Unisys prescribes that enterprises take an all-encompassing security approach that aligns security objectives and needs with business strategies and goals. This approach to security can reduce costs by providing technologists, engineers and security personnel with a singular guidance to follow.
Unisys implores companies to make security a priority in its operations. Specifically, the company suggests implementing security monitoring, awareness and reporting utilities and a cybersecurity framework to protect enterprise data and networks from internal and external threats.
For larger operations with high personnel populations, the management of identities and entitlements through an integrated approach will be key. Central management of users’ digital identities will provide the higher level of assurance and will reduce employee error with continuous messaging and policy implementation.
Unisys also suggests utilizing built-in capabilities of next generation devices, stressing that smart phones and tablets enable advanced authentication via biometric techniques like voice, signature and facial recognition.
Finally, Unisys stresses the importance of constantly and regularly assessing and reassessing security measures. Performing vulnerability scans periodically and scheduling audits can be valuable tools in spotting gaps in security.
Originally launched in 2007, the Security Index is conducted by marketing research firm Lieberman Research Group and provides a statistical measure of security concerns spanning financial, Internet, national and personal security. Conducted using random-digit dialing telephone method, the Unisys Security Index is calculated by averaging the scores of each of these four areas with the range of scores stretching from 50 to 200.