Consumers recoil from phishing onslaught

The rising tide of phishing attacks and other security threats is putting US internet users off banking and purchasing online.

The rising tide of phishing attacks and other security threats is putting US internet users off banking and purchasing online. 

Analyst Gartner said an estimated 73 million US adults who used the internet had received more than 50 phishing e-mails in the past year.

Gartner based its estimate on a survey of 5,000 US adults. 

Gartner reported that three out of every four online shoppers were now more cautious about where they bought goods online, and one out of three bought fewer items than they otherwise would have because of security concerns. 

“Companies need to take steps quickly to beef up online security,” said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan. “We are seeing unprecedented levels in consumer transactions online. Yet businesses cannot rely on the internet to lower costs and improve marketing efforts indefinitely if consumer trust continues to decline.” 

More than 80% of US online consumers said their concerns about online attacks had affected their trust in e-mail from companies or individuals they didn’t know personally. Of these consumers, more than 85% deleted suspect e-mail without opening it. 

“This figure has serious implications for banks and other companies that want to use the e-mail channel to communicate more cost-effectively with their customer base,” Litan said. “For example, a bill sent electronically costs about half of what a bill costs when sent through the post.”

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