Consumer trust of the Internet and online banking services is on the wane following negative publicity about phishing crime and identity theft, according to a survey of 2000 US adults commissioned by Entrust.
The research found that consumers expressed heightened resistance in using the Internet due to concerns over identity theft, but noted a willingness to engage in more and higher value services online if security is improved.
According to Entrust 72% of users who do not currently bank online would be likely to participate if identity security was improved; and 90% of those who already bank online would likely take advantage of additional, higher value services if their identities were better protected.
Indeed, 65% of the sample stated that increased security of their online identities would influence their selection of online banks, while 22% would be "very likely" to switch banks to obtain better protection of their online identity.
The survey results indicate users would be willing to change the way they access online services if it improves the security of their identity, with 78% of Internet users prepared to use two factor authentication.
Publication of the results coincides with the launch by Entrust of IdentityGuard, a new two-factor authentication product which uses random grids of alphanumerical characters that are in turn used to answer a challenge presented when accessing online transactions. Customers can access the grids in multiple formats, for example on stand-alone wallet-sized plastic cards, in conjunction with existing cards or even in downloadable files.
Phil Schacter, analyst at Burton Group, describes the Entrust systems as "a step in the right direction" as it doesn't rely on the distribution of costly tokens or hardware interface devices.
"One of the compelling advantages of the new system that Entrust is proposing is its simplicity and the absence of a heavyweight technical infrastructure," he says.