Despite lack of trust, Internet users’ security behaviours far from ideal, RoboForm® study finds

Despite lack of trust, Internet users’ security behaviours far from ideal, RoboForm® study finds

United Kingdom

New research has revealed a significant disconnect between how people perceive online security and the measures they’re willing to take to protect their information.


Among the major findings of the international survey published by Siber Systems, the leading software developer behind password management tool RoboForm, is that 60 per cent of respondents believe online companies are careless about the security of their customers’ personal information. Facebook is by far the least-trusted website among popular online destinations, with 57 per cent of all respondents rating the social network at the top of their least-trusted list.

“Our survey shows that, like many things in life, people complain about the safety of their information online, but few are willing to take firm steps to protect that information,” noted Bill Carey Vice President of Marketing at Siber Systems. “In an era where our health information, our purchasing practices, our correspondence and even information about our family and friends is online, it’s more important than ever to take online security seriously.”

Hacking happens, yet security remains lax

Many people report experiences with having a personal online account hacked. Almost a third (29 per cent) have had at least one account hacked. Of those who had been hacked, 53 per cent had their personal email hacked, 23 per cent have had an online shopping account broken into, and 29 per cent reported a breach of a social media account.

Yet such negative attitudes and difficulties, for many, do not translate into improved security practices. Of those individuals who admitted having a personal account hacked, more than three-quarters (79 per cent) continued to use the site linked to the account. Among all respondents security practices are often lax. One out of three surveyed occasionally use the same passwords for both work and personal accounts and women were found to be twice as likely to use a word or detail in their password that is personal to them, such as their mother’s maiden name.

No time for 2-step

While many commercial websites are considering more secure login practices to protect users, the survey indicates a significant number of people would find those practices burdensome. For example, if a company introduced two-step login verification wherein a second password is sent to a pre-agreed phone number, one in five (23 per cent) said they would not have the time to go through such a process, and another 13 per cent replied it sounded too complicated. However, 42 per cent said they would trust such a company more with their personal information. People are also hesitant about investing their trust in cloud-based companies; with nearly one-third (31 per cent) of respondents stating that they do not trust cloud-based companies to keep their personal data safe.

A question of responsibility

There are also significant generational differences in attitudes to online personal security - a result that has implications for online companies. While approximately 55 per cent of those 45 and older believe the security of their personal information is their own responsibility, 58 per cent of those under 45 believe it’s the responsibility of the online company or organisation that has their information. Older adults over the age of 35 are also far more likely to use a password management software tool.

The online survey by Siber Systems of over 700 adults from the United States, the U.K., Germany and other countries was conducted during November and December 2012.


Editor Notes:

Founded in 1995, Siber Systems creates and markets software products for consumers and businesses around the world. Our software is highly acclaimed and has received numerous awards, including PC Magazine Editor’s Choice, CNET’s Best Software of the Year, and PC World’s 25 Products We Can’t Live Without.

The company’s flagship products, RoboForm and GoodSync, are used by millions of people worldwide, with registered customers in over 100 countries. GoodSync, an easy and reliable automatic file synchronization program, was released in 2006 and already enjoys favorable reviews from users and the press.

RoboForm Enterprise has been solving password management problems quickly, easily and cost-effectively since 1999. RoboForm Enterprise reduces employee passwords to one secure, master password and provides an easy and cost-effective way to improve password security while making employees more productive and helping organizations to recognize immediate IT cost savings. As part of the company’s strong commitment to customer satisfaction, its software comes with a risk-free trial. Headquartered in Fairfax, Virginia, Siber Systems is privately held.