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Canadian online retailers lack Internet security

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July 14, 2005

A new study conducted by Ipsos-Reid reveals that many Canadian online retailers are using only very basic Internet security protections on their sites. For example, one of the most popular security methods used is a simple username/password combination, even though it is not the most secure method, especially when employed alone, Ipsos-Reid said.

Less vulnerable password methods like dynamic passwords, and personal identification (PIN) numbers — are used by just over 50% of respondents, and about two-thirds of respondents said they used firewalls and virtual private networks (VPNs).

Many online retailers are just uninformed when it comes to the security of customer data.

According to Lise Dellazizzo, vice president of Information Communications Technology for Ipsos-Reid, "One of the major barriers to the accelerated adoption of more complex security measures may be a persistent and general lack of knowledge and awareness among merchants of the far-ranging and detrimental effects serious breaches can have on their business."

The greatest risk that online retailers see is customers' credit card numbers being stolen, with 72% of respondents citing it as a threat. Significant percentages of retailers also named back-end hacking (63%), and intrusion attacks or network and account attacks (60%) as risks.

Security concerns could hamper the growth of online commerce in Canada. A separate Ipsos-Reid survey, conducted for Intersections Inc. and the Carlson Marketing Group in February 2005, found that 30% of Canadian adults said they have stopped banking or shopping online.

Over two-thirds of Canadian adults said they follow the security procedures requested by their credit card company, while 65% have reviewed credit reports and 54% destroy or shred documents.

Source: eMarketer

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