Online buyers confused over security, research shows

People are increasingly dependent on e-commerce sites, but they do not have a good understanding of online security.

That is the key verdict of new research, which found 70 percent of online buyers blame themselves for security problems, but keep on buying.

Under a quarter blamed the website or technology for security issues, according to the report ‘Online security: a human perspective’, commissioned by Oracle and conducted by consultancy Foviance. Some 550 people were interviewed.

The report highlighted issues over consumers’ understanding of security, stating that perceptions were “press-led”. They had “no desire” to learn more about IT security, and unrealistic expectations about their rights if their security is compromised, it said.

Two-thirds wanted more online security, but many still said that if this meant slower transaction processing, then they would find it frustrating. Some 72 percent of consumers had experienced problems with online transactions, including slow processing speed or too many steps to go through.

This created a “dilemma” for online retailers, the report said, as they weighed up improving security against making user experience strong. Most of those interviewed said they did not want two-factor security authentication outside the banking sector.

The report advised e-commerce sites to reassure customers about security, including demonstrating third party certification logos, security policies, customer reviews, terms and conditions, and a confirmation page or email.

A “layered” approach was necessary, it said, covering security from the website itself to back-office systems processing and storing customer data.

“It’s time to stop viewing IT security as a castle and moat. Companies need to take a more sophisticated approach and that requires a shift in mindset,” said Des Powley, security director at Oracle UK.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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