Privacy, Identity, And Security: The Growing Risks Of Failing To Protect Personal Identity

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1 A Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Paper Commissioned By LifeLock June 2014 Privacy, Identity, And Security: The Growing Risks Of Failing To Protect Personal Identity

2 Table Of Contents Executive Summary... 1 Empowered Consumers Create New Identity Protection Challenges... 2 Identity Theft Risk Varies, But It Is A Universal Problem... 3 The Answer Isn t To Stop Living Digitally... 5 Key Recommendations... 6 Appendix A: Methodology... 7 Appendix B: Endnotes... 7 ABOUT FORRESTER CONSULTING Forrester Consulting provides independent and objective research-based consulting to help leaders succeed in their organizations. Ranging in scope from a short strategy session to custom projects, Forrester s Consulting services connect you directly with research analysts who apply expert insight to your specific business challenges. For more information, visit forrester.com/consulting. 2014, Forrester Research, Inc. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited. Information is based on best available resources. Opinions reflect judgment at the time and are subject to change. Forrester, Technographics, Forrester Wave, RoleView, TechRadar, and Total Economic Impact are trademarks of Forrester Research, Inc. All other trademarks are the property of their respective companies. For additional information, go to [1-Q71N68]

3 1 Executive Summary In today s increasingly digital world, individuals are perpetually connected and increasingly share their lives online. But this new reality also comes with new risks. Every interaction, every communication, every touchpoint creates a digital breadcrumb a piece of data that can put people at greater risk of identity theft. In February 2014, LifeLock commissioned Forrester Consulting to study the consumer attitudes, behaviors, and exposures related to identity theft. Forrester analyzed this data to develop a hypothesis about the correlation of digital life activities (e.g., the kinds of services they use, the types of information they share online, the kinds of connected devices they own) and security behaviors both online and offline (e.g., locking their devices, using strong passwords, shredding sensitive documents) in order to score consumers across a continuum of identity theft risk. This scoring model can help identify who might be at the greatest risk, and why: Is it because they engage in more and riskier digital activities? Or is their risk driven by a failure to protect themselves? This Thought Leadership Paper compares various segments and demographics to understand which groups are at the greatest risk of identity theft. In conducting an online survey of 6,011 US individuals, Forrester found that those who don t believe that online security is worth worrying about are nearly six-times less safe than the US average, while those who believe that they ought to concern themselves with identity theft are nearly 30% less likely to experience identity theft than the US average. KEY FINDINGS Forrester s study yielded four key findings: The use of digital services that expose identity data is on the rise. Major life events tend to be related to activities that expose individuals to identity theft. Most individuals do not take sufficient steps to protect their data and identity. The costs of remedying identity theft are significant in more than just dollars.

4 2 Empowered Consumers Create New Identity Protection Challenges We have entered an era where an organization s most valuable asset is its ability to anticipate and serve its customers at their moment of need. We call this the age of the customer. 1 Individuals are more empowered than ever, and they demand access and convenience, on the go, and without friction. But these demands also increase the risk of identity theft. The key issues that affect identity protection include: The proliferation of devices that generate and collect data puts us at greater risk. Consumers are hyperconnected over 64% of them use three or more connected devices today. And each of those devices is collecting and storing potentially identifiable information. Frequently, these devices store more information via apps, for example than users realize. This trend is only on the upswing as new technologies like wearables and connected home devices proliferate and gain mainstream adoption. Increasing use of online services that collect our data. These services from cloud storage to music streaming and even ephemeral messaging platforms are popular because they offer unique value (see Figure 1). Unfortunately, however, most of these services often treat user data without the appropriate levels of governance and security. In fact, many of them even require us to share more of our identity and secrets simply to engage with the service. An increase in risky behaviors in exchange for recognition and convenience. Our research found that only 38% of consumers avoid using conveniences like auto-login on the websites they use, while 35% of respondents did not use different passwords for different online accounts. These behaviors make it easier for individuals to lead their digital lives, but they also increase the risk of identity theft when one password is breached, for example, thieves have a much greater chance of accessing the individual s other accounts. FIGURE 1 People Increasingly Rely On Online Services For each of the following categories of online services, which statement best describes your use? (include services used for either work, personal purposes, or both) Online contact and sync 55% Online calendar and sync 43% Music storage and/or streaming 41% Voice/video chat or instant messaging 40% Web-based word processor, spreadsheet, or presentation 38% Video storage and/or streaming 35% Online photo storage 34% ebook storage and/or delivery 33% File sync or sharing 25% Online PC backup 24% Digital note-taking app 19% 77% of US online adults use at least one type of online service. Base: 4,657 US online adults (18+) Source: Source: North American Technographics Consumer Technology Survey, 2013

5 3 Identity Theft Risk Varies, But It Is A Universal Problem This study found that 40% of US adults have been notified by a company or organization they interact with, at least once, that their personal information was involved in a large data breach. Additionally, 24% indicated that they had been victims of identity theft, with nearly 40% of those having experienced the theft in the previous 12 months. These figures represent a slight increase from responses in the previous quarter. We also wanted to understand what actually drives an individual s potential risk for identity theft. We analyzed individuals behaviors around two areas. First, we studied their digital life activities (e.g., the kinds of services they use, the types of information they share online, the kinds of connected devices they own). Next, we examined their behaviors around securing their identity both online and offline (e.g., locking their devices, using strong passwords, shredding sensitive documents). Through this analysis, we were able to identify that: Age is a major driver of risk. Young people are at greater risk of identity theft than their parents and grandparents. This is because they are significantly more digitally active than older individuals. However, the Gen Z population is quite aware and mindful of the risks of identity theft; they merely haven t reached a point in life where they are doing anything about it (see Figure 2). does their risk. For instance, a person with three connected devices is nearly one and one-half times more likely to be a victim than someone who has only one connected device. And ownership of five or more connected devices increases the risk by a staggering 24- times compared with those who only own one device. Major life events increase identity theft risk. It also turns out that new beginnings such as a marital status change, new parenthood, or new homeownership also increases exposure. We found that individuals who experienced one of these significant life changes within the last 12 months are much more likely than the average population to become victims of identity theft as well (see Figure 3). Social sharing increases risk as well. More specifically, sharing certain types of information online is riskiest. For example, individuals who are active on location-sharing social networks are nearly five-times more likely to be victims of identity theft than those who do not use such networks at least monthly. Security behaviors require maintenance. We found that where individuals practice good personal security, they can positively impact their risk. For example, making sure that security software is up to date reduces risk by three-times over those who merely install these types of tools then forget about them. Additionally, individuals who make frequent password changes part of their routine are on average 40% less likely to be a victim. The more connected we are, the higher the risk. As people s ownership of connected devices increases, so

6 4 FIGURE 2 Age Is A Significant Predictor of Risk Younger Boomers (48-57) Golden All Generation respondents (69+) Gen Z (18-24) Gen Y (25-33) 0 Less risk More risk Older Boomers (58-68) 100 Gen X (34-47) Base: 6,011 US online adults (18+) Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of LifeLock, March 2014 FIGURE 3 Major Life Events Increase Identity Theft Risk All respondents Recently divorced Recently had a baby Recently married 0 Less risk More risk 100 Recently purchased home Base: 6,011 US online adults (18+) Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of LifeLock, March 2014

7 5 The Answer Isn t To Stop Living Digitally As digital lives go, the genie is out of the bottle. Wearable devices make us healthier in the long run. Social networks let us stay connected more easily than traditional methods. And mobile devices keep us informed and entertained, no matter where we are. So the goal isn t to restrict or hinder the benefits and conveniences of these tools and services. Instead, it s to help people protect their data and identity better. But who really needs to be the most careful today? Digital natives who are building their identity. These young individuals may not realize the value of a good credit score or the importance of a well-controlled identity yet. In fact, they may not even understand the myriad forms of identity theft that exist. They must be wary of everything from employment fraud to tax fraud and insurance fraud to credit theft. For these individuals, protecting their identity should be a key component to being consider a digital native. Individuals at peak data sharing moments of life. Milestones today almost necessarily include the sharing of personal data. Whether it s buying a house or having a first child, we re asked to fill out myriad forms both digital and analog with highly personal information. But we have little control over where that data is stored or how it s shared. So it s crucial that individuals going through major life stages be vigilant about protecting their identity proactively. disconnect between the different types of protection services that exist. Namely: Credit monitoring is not enough. These services, while helpful, do not provide the extent of predictive warnings that identity services do, and they tend to trigger only once a fraud activity has already occurred. Identity protection services provide greater security. Those individuals who use identity theft protection rather than credit monitoring are 92% less likely to experience identity theft. Those who ve suffered the worst see the most value in identity protection. Our research found that of the consumers who have been the victim of identity theft, there is a correlation between what it cost them to remedy the breach and the service they now choose to use. Individuals who now pay for identity monitoring services report that the incident cost them an average of $10,398 that s more than double what it cost their peers who rely on credit monitoring tools. In other words, these individuals know only too well the value of holistic, proactive identity protection. Hyperconnected social gamification users. It s not just Gen Zers that have to worry about their social activities. Frequent use of apps that encourage on-site social network purchases for games, badges, etc. similarly increases risk. So those individuals who enjoy the gamification aspect of social networking need to be more conscious about with whom and why they share these activities. CONSUMERS NEED THE RIGHT TOOLS TO PROTECT IDENTITY We found that although only 22% of respondents currently subscribe to some kind of identity theft protection service, these individuals are already somewhat safer than their peers. However, we also found that there is a big

8 6 Key Recommendations It s clear that identity theft is a problem on the rise. First, bad actors are simply getting smarter and better able to operate at scale. Second, consumers haven t yet gotten used to the idea of protecting their data and identity in the new digital world. Most individuals can t do much about the first problem. But they can take steps to reduce their risk by changing a few of their behaviors. These include: Taking identity theft risk seriously. Our data shows that individuals who have a cavalier attitude about identity theft are actually at a greater risk. In fact, those who don t believe that online security is worth worrying about are nearly six-times less safe than the US average, while those who believe that they ought to concern themselves with identity theft are nearly 30% less likely to experience identity theft than the US average. Taking a personal interest in, and ownership of, identity makes a difference. Foregoing a few conveniences but not many. Sure, it s cumbersome to enter in a username and password every time you access a site, but avoiding that auto-login feature can make you 39% less likely to experience identity theft than the US average. And while reviewing privacy settings and application permissions is annoying, these small steps and the changes individuals make as a result improve identity security by a significant margin. Leverage identity theft protection services to ease the burden. Those individuals who use identity theft protection rather than credit monitoring are 92% less likely to experience identity theft. These kinds of tools can provide an added measure of security via alerts and notifications; they also provide education services that can increase awareness and create better awareness of risky activities on the part of the consumer.

9 7 Appendix A: Methodology Forrester Consulting s study is based on an online survey fielded in February 2014 of 6,011 US individuals ages 18 to 88. The final data was subsequently weighted by age, gender, income, and region to demographically represent the overall adult US population. Appendix B: Endnotes 1 Source: "Competitive Strategy In The Age Of The Customer," Forrester Research, Inc., October 10, Empowered customers are disrupting every industry; competitive barriers like manufacturing strength, distribution power, and information mastery no longer create competitive advantage. In this age of the customer, the only sustainable competitive advantage is knowledge of and engagement with customers. The successful companies will be customer-obsessed.

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