LONDON - June 16, 2009 – The findings of a consumer survey conducted by YouGov and commissioned by VeriSign (NASDAQ: VRSN), the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world, reveal that of the 91 percent of Britons concerned about identity theft, more than two thirds (86 percent) would prefer using sites that actively engage them in protecting their online identity. In addition, 79 percent of consumers would like better systems in place to protect them against identity theft, and 82 percent agreed they would take on more responsibility to protect their online identities, even if it meant an extra step on their part. These latest findings suggest that consumers are ready for extra preventative measures that are on the market today, such as two-factor authentication.
Costs and reputation damage associated with identity theft are significant to both consumers and businesses. According to the Identity Fraud Steering Committee (IFSC), the cost of identity fraud to the UK Economy is £1.2 billion, or around £25 for every adult in Britain[i]. Furthermore, credit reference agency Experian estimates that it takes an average of 467 days to discover you’re a victim of ID fraud and believes it takes 300 hours reversing the damage done. At a time when people are feeling the squeeze of the credit crisis, they cannot afford extra costs due to identity theft.
Ninety percent of consumers said that ensuring that no one else can gain access to their account and claim to be them is a concern. In fact, 81 percent of consumers would not make a transaction on a Web site that does not protect their online identity.
“Today’s troubled economy is clearly putting pressure on consumers’ purchasing decisions and their confidence in transacting online, with Web retail sales growth continuing to slow throughout the second quarter of 2009,” said Andrew McClelland at industry body IMRG. “It’s in the best interests of online businesses and consumers to ensure that every transaction is protected from fraud and out of reach from identity thieves. Reassurance at a key stage in the buying process benefits all involved.”
Cutting identity theft costs will require greater participation from consumers, who up to now have had few opportunities to protect their online identities beyond user name/password protection; 81 percent of respondents secure accounts with this basic method. Two-factor authentication, also known as “strong authentication,” combines what consumers know – such as their username and password – with something they have – such as a special one-time password generated by a token, smart card or mobile phone. Measures such as strong authentication have been shown to significantly reduce instances of fraud and identity theft – even when the user name and password is stolen, these details are useless without the additional layer of protection.
“Current conditions have driven consumers to take advantage of the convenience and cost savings that transacting online affords,” said Martin Mackay, vice president and general manager, VeriSign UK. “However, the increasing number and frequency of consumers transacting online make the Internet a more and more attractive playground for thieves. Consumers have rightfully voiced their desire for better protection of their online identities, and VeriSign—along with more than 45 other companies around the world-- has made this a reality with two-factor authentication via the VeriSign Identity Protection (VIP) Authentication Service.”
The VIP Authentication Service is a two-factor authentication service fully hosted by VeriSign. The Service uses a special security credential--such as a token, mobile phone, or smart card-- that provides Internet users with a unique six digit security code for every transaction. During an online transaction, this security code is entered into a user interface with other information, such as user name and password, achieving two-factor authentication. The VIP Authentication Service is deployed on a trusted and shared network, which allows consumers to use a single security device to authenticate themselves across any VIP-enabled Web site, making it more convenient for consumers to adopt two-factor authentication.
UK: The online survey was commissioned by VeriSign and conducted by YouGov. 1961 UK adults (aged 18+) were polled in the sample.
VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN) is the trusted provider of Internet infrastructure services for the networked world. Billions of times each day, VeriSign helps companies and consumers all over the world engage in communications and commerce with confidence. Additional news and information about the company is available at www.verisign.com.
VRSNF Statements in this announcement other than historical data and information constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 as amended and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 as amended. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause VeriSign's actual results to differ materially from those stated or implied by such forward-looking statements. The potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, the uncertainty of future revenue and profitability and potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results due to such factors as increasing competition and pricing pressure from competing services offered at prices below our prices, market acceptance of our existing services and the current global economic downturn, the inability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new services, the uncertainty of whether new services as provided by VeriSign will achieve market acceptance or result in any revenues, the risk that planned divestitures of certain businesses may be delayed or pending dispositions may not be completed, may generate less proceeds than expected or may incur unanticipated costs or otherwise negatively affect VeriSign's financial condition, results of operations or cash flows, and the uncertainty of whether Project Titan will achieve its stated objectives. More information about potential factors that could affect the company's business and financial results is included in VeriSign's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2008, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.
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