Findings from a recent global study titled "The boundaries of trust: privacy and protection in cyberspace" by Kaspersky Lab have revealed that many business organisations and consumers alike are apprehensive about the privacy and security of their online data.
The research surveyed "600 mid-sized companies with IT security professionals" and "6,000 consumers with security software installed on their devices" across France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Kaspersky Lab, in conjunction with Applied Marketing Research as the study's data analyst, found that the respondents do not fully trust governments -- both their own and foreign ones -- as well as their employers, and even their family and friends when it comes to their online data, and are worried that they might access such data.
The respondents, the study has found, are also worried about not being able to stop such entities from accessing their personal online data.
On the top of the list of potential intruders, however, are -- predictably -- cybercriminals such as crackers, as "45% of businesses and 47% of consumers" have cited their worries about "protecting their online data from malicious attack."
Other findings from the study include:
- 36% of businesses and 33% of consumers have expressed distrust against their own governments;
- 30% of businesses and 26% of consumers have expressed distrust against foreign governments and companies;
- 29% of businesses have expressed concerns over their employers' ability to access their personal online data; and
- 26% of consumers have expressed apprehension over their families "snooping" on their personal online data.
While many respondents do worry that their cybersecurity provider might "gather their personal online data, opinions, location or browsing habits for the purpose of sharing such information with foreign entities," the vast majority of respondents -- 87% of businesses and 82% of consumers -- actually "trust their security provider to behave ethically" in collecting and utilising their data.
Survey examines the intersections of "nationalism, national security and trust in internet service providers"; Global Transparency Initiative aims to "rebuild trust in information security"
The above findings indicate that the current cybersecurity landscape has created "an environment of fear, uncertainty and doubt" for both businesses and consumers, adversely affecting the ability to trust anyone online.
Vice-president of public affairs at Kaspersky Lab, Anton Shingarev, said: “These research results are indeed amazing.
"They provide further evidence that technologies and software are a black box for many companies. They don’t know how they work, what’s inside, what data is collected or how it’s stored. As a result, they don’t trust vendors.
"I believe this to be unacceptable, and, as an industry, we need to ensure that people understand exactly what we do and what kind of things a security provider would never do," stressed Mr Shingarev.
"This should be accompanied by an ongoing commitment to building resilience and security into our products, and to proving their trustworthiness through transparency and accountability.
All this is embedded in our Global Transparency Initiative, a program designed to help rebuild trust in information security,” he assured.
Other findings of the research include:
- 46% of businesses and 51% of consumers believe "a cybersecurity provider should not automatically have to share a user’s private data with the government in matters of national security, but that it should depend on the circumstances" and
- 55% of businesses and 66% of consumers are of the opinion that their government "should work together with the company that offers the highest quality products or services, even if it is a foreign company," with the percentages going up to 82% and 78% respectively in matters concerning national security.
Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Public Policy and founder-director of the Internet Governance Project, Milton Mueller, commented on the findings: "This survey addresses the nexus between nationalism, national security and trust in internet service providers.
"There are surprising findings regarding consumer and business attitudes towards the role of governments in cybersecurity. For example, it was fascinating to see how many consumers believe that their government should use the best vendor for national security-related capabilities regardless of what country it is from.
"It was also interesting to see that consumers are more likely to fear their data will be interfered with by their own government than foreign governments," noted Mr Mueller.