Security A Concern For Online Holiday Shoppers

    November 17, 2009

As Americans prepare for the holiday shopping season, online security plays a major part in consumers’ purchasing decision, according to a new poll by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) and Symantec.

More than half (63%) of online shoppers said they did not complete a purchase because of security concerns. The most common reasons for not making an online purchase include:

  •   41 percent said the site requested more information than necessary for the transaction
  •   46 percent were worried about providing the information requested
  •   32 percent said it wasn’t clear about how the site would use personal information
  •   62 percent simply were not sure the site was secure

Some online retailers are concerned that adding more security measures to their sites would decrease purchases. Just over 75 percent of online shoppers said they would still make a purchases even if a website required more information than a username and password to verify their identity.

"Americans are extremely focused on protecting their personal information and their identities," said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the NCSA.
"Skepticism is a front-line defense and it is heartening to see that Americans are actively engaged in making critical decisions when shopping online. This poll should alert online retailers that there is direct relationship between security and revenue."

The NCSA recommends the following tips for secure online holiday shopping:

  Update Core Protections: Take a few minutes to update your core protections — anti-virus, anti-spyware, and firewall — before you get on the information superhighway. Also make certain they are set to automatically update against new threats.
  Shop Secure Sites: Is there a closed padlock on the browser’s status bar? Does the Web site’s address (URL) change to shttp or https when you are asked to provide payment information? If so, you know the vendor has secured their payment process.
  Check Sellers Out: Conduct independent research on a seller’s reputation before you buy from a seller you have never done business with.
  Passwords Are Key: Create long unique passwords incorporating symbols and numbers to increase your security against hackers and others trying to access online accounts.
  Always Ask WWW: When providing personal information for any purchase, always ensure that you know who is asking for the information, what information they are asking for and why the need it.
  Not All Money is Created Equal: Credit cards are generally the safest option because shoppers can seek a credit from the issuer of the card if the item isn’t delivered or not what was ordered.
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