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Half of Online Shoppers Blame Retailers for Security Issues

Whether it is a fair accusation or not, shoppers don’t always see the perpetrator of online crimes as the one to blame the most for theft. Many consider the retailer almost equally at fault when cybercrime rears its head.

The findings published in eDigitalResearch’s and IMRG’s eCustomerServiceIndexshow half of those surveyed believe retailers should do more to protect their information.

Data crimes on very large scales have and continue to make headlines. 2013’s breach at Target during the holiday shopping season was extensive and public. (Full disclosure: this writer had two credit cards affected by the Target breach.)

Concerns in the brick and mortar world have carried over into the virtual. Not without justification, either, according to the survey. They found 24 percent of those surveyed either experienced or saw a family member experience being on the wrong side of a fraudulent online transaction.

The survey does suggest that retailers can take action to help shoppers do better at measures the shoppers should be doing themselves. Not many shoppers (43 percent) think to change passwords every three to six months, and only 69 percent use different passwords at different websites.

Stakes remain high in online security, as billions of dollars in annual sales offer a huge enticement to criminals. Visa’s payment management company CyberSource said in its 2013 Online Fraud Report the total revenue lost to online fraud in 2012 reached approximately $3.5 billion.

Fortunately services like CyberSource and others have made inroads into fraud detection as well as detecting and closing potential security vulnerabilities. Google, with significant ecommerce aspirations of its own, disclosed in July 2014 their Project Zero security effort.

“Our objective is to significantly reduce the number of people harmed by targeted attacks,” Google’s Chris Evans wrote. “You should be able to use the web without fear that a criminal or state-sponsored actor is exploiting software bugs to infect your computer, steal secrets or monitor your communications.”

Google said it was hiring the security researchers and contributing 100% of their time toward improving security across the Internet. “We’re not placing any particular bounds on this project and will work to improve the security of any software depended upon by large numbers of people, paying careful attention to the techniques, targets and motivations of attackers.”

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David A Utter
David A Utter
David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR's "All Things Considered" with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.