What is the value of online security?

Bruce Schneier published the blog post Dumb Security Survey Questions, which refers to a rather interesting and unusual security survey, the Harris poll, that reveals the “Extremes People will go to for Online Protection“.

Key findings include:

  • 81% of surveyed individuals have asked for assistance (hints, security questions, password resets, etc.) to access any of their accounts or apps before,
  • 36% say they’ve abandoned an online transaction in the past when they couldn’t remember a password, a likely pain point for online retailers. This impact is stronger among women (40%, vs. 32% of men),
  • 39% would sacrifice sex for one year if it meant they never had to worry about being hacked, having their identity stolen, or their accounts breached.
  • 41% would rather give up their favorite food for a month than go through the password reset process for all their online accounts.

It is certainly not your typical security survey, and I share the clear sentiment of Bruce Schneier on the value it provides. Still, the survey highlights the following 2 unsurprising items:

  1. Passwords suck. They are both an individual risk and a business competitive disadvantage.
  2. Personal online privacy and security may seem really hard to attain for many, who might be willing to invest into easy and simpler-to-use solutions to reduce their risks and improve their online user experience – an opportunity.

What is the value, to consumers and businesses, of an online security that would be assured enough and easy enough to enable a more confident online experience?


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