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Consumer security risks require a business response

Norton's exposure of consumer security risks has stirred some debate about what it means for the channel and the business community

As mobile working, BYOD and IoT have gathered pace the risk of an individual being the weak link used to gain access to a corporate network have risen and given firms cause to look to the channel to help them reduce risks.

Most businesses now accept that the chances of being a target of hackers is almost inevitable but plenty of users continue to plod on hoping that they will not register on the hacker's radar.

But research from Norton indicates that a fifth of users have been hit by cyber crime, with many losing money as a result of the attack, and the danger is not only could they be the backdoor into the corporate network but the faith in online trading could be hit.

“Because of this, it’s vital organisations take a proactive approach. They must focus on reacting quickly when a breach occurs, and must have well-rehearsed plans in place to understand what happened, minimise the impact, communicate clearly with their customers and restore normal operations as soon as possible," said Paul McEvatt, senior cyber threat intelligence manager, UK & Ireland at Fujitsu.

"To do this, they need to integrate threat intelligence and other information sources to provide the context necessary to deal with today’s advanced cyber threats. Implementing a strong security education programme underpinned by a robust security framework. This would allow companies to get on the front foot in combating these types of threats. It’s also important that organisations communicate how they are using personal data to provide benefits to the customer, in a secure manner, and that the right security controls and policies are in place, to remain trusted in the eyes of the consumer," he added.

The Norton findings will add to a growing wave of research that is indicating threats are multiplying and keeping security budgets largely protected as firms draw up their plans for 2016.

“We no longer need convincing of the risks,” said Nick Shaw, EMEA general manager, Norton Business Unit. “Our findings demonstrate that people’s trust in online activity has been rattled, yet there still is not widespread adoption of simple protection measures that people should take to safeguard their information online.”
 
Many people will go out and buy consumer security products but the situation also calls for more of a reaction from businesses and that should spell an opportunity for those resellers with security skills.

“The results of this survey shouldn’t be surprising. They highlight the very real impact that major cyber-breaches have on individual users. The fallout from attacks like the TalkTalk breach can continue for months after the event. But online protection has to be a joint effort from both businesses and consumers," said David Kennerley, senior manager for threat research at Webroot.

"Companies must invest in appropriate security measures to ensure consumer details are safeguarded but users have to take some responsibility for monitoring the information they share online. By regularly changing passwords, revoking app permissions and disabling browser add-ons, consumers can limit their exposure when a cyber-attack takes place," he added.

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