European Consumers Claim Businesses Fail to Protect Their Personal Information Online
LONDON – March 6, 2008 – European consumers have hit back at institutions including banks and credit companies by claiming that not enough is being done to safeguard their personal information online, according to a YouGov survey published today by VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), the leading provider of Internet infrastructure for the networked world.
The pan-European survey on consumers' attitudes to online security shows that European online users cite their bank as the Web site they most visit, followed by retail shopping sites. As many as 80 percent Danish, 77 percent Swedish, 72 percent French, 65 percent British, and 57 percent German online users regularly log onto banking and other Web sites, where they share personal information at least once a week - if not more often.
When asked if institutions such as the government and banks were doing enough to safeguard a user's personal information online, 57 percent of the UK population replied with a resounding no. Nearly half of the German population (44 percent) also responded with similar sentiments, followed by Sweden (31 percent), France (27 percent) and Denmark (20 percent) also claiming not enough is being done.
With European Internet users putting up to £820 billion1 at risk by sharing personal data on Web sites that are either not secure or poorly protected, there is a high level of concern about online data security. The following percentage of consumers surveyed in their respective regions is worried about identity theft:
- 78 percent in the UK
- 79 percent in Germany
- 70 percent in France
- 41 percent in Denmark
- 55 percent in Sweden
The research of Europe's online users also questioned who should be responsible for protecting customers' personal information online. The survey showed that at least half of respondents in each of the countries felt that it was the organisations' (banks, credit card companies and Web sites) responsibility - UK (51 percent), France (75 percent), Sweden (52 percent), Germany (51 percent) and Denmark (45 percent).
Jon Kerr, VeriSign SSL Manager, commented, "With increasing frequency, we are seeing more and more theft of consumer's personal information. The study shows that online customers are becoming more aware of the risks involved in passing on their details over sites that may not be secure. It is the organisations themselves that will fail to benefit as they will lose out on an increasingly sceptical customer base who expect their online safety to be taken care of."
Some online businesses and technologies are advancing with more than 2,500 online merchants adopting VeriSign's Extended Validation (EV) SSL which turns the address bar green when viewed by users of certain high-security web browsers, a feature that can be seen at first glance, helping make consumers more confident that the site they are visiting is secure. The "green bar" technology helps to combat e-criminals who use fake sites to illegally capture personal details as it helps assure users that their personal information will only go to their intended bank or retailer.
"Trust is difficult to build but easy to break," continued Kerr. "That's why thousands of domains are now protected with VeriSign EV SSL Certificates. By displaying the green address bar to site visitors, online businesses like banks and retailers are communicating that they care enough to provide the most advanced protection available. And in the process, they are protecting the relationship they've built with customers."
Notes to editor
¹ This figure was derived by combining the average exposure level for European citizens as researched by YOUGOV with the current adult Internet connected population of each country.
VeriSign, Inc. (NASDAQ: VRSN), operates digital infrastructure services that enable and protect billions of interactions every day across the world's voice, video and data networks. Additional news and information about the company is available at www.verisign.co.uk.
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 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. 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 the inability of VeriSign to successfully develop and market new products and services and customer acceptance of any new products or services, including VeriSign's Extended Validation SSL Certificates and solutions, the possibility that VeriSign's announced new services may not result in additional customers, profits or revenues; and increased competition and pricing pressures. 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, 2006 and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. VeriSign undertakes no obligation to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this press release.
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