By Timo Laaksonen, CEO at F-Secure, explains why he believes the cybersecurity industry has a responsibility to break down the jargon and demystify cyber confusion
Cybercrime is increasing. But consumers are being let down by the very people that should be protecting them. And I strongly believe that the cybersecurity industry – including F-Secure – must work harder when it comes to making digital safety more accessible.
In a 2022 survey conducted by F-Secure we found that consumers are now experiencing around 30% more cybercrime – predominantly via SMS and email scams, call fraud, viruses, social media breaches, and credit card fraud. This acceleration has been fueled by changing digital habits, such as the increase in home working and the ubiquity of connected devices, which means the risk of cybercrime is now ever-present.
And this places an increasing obligation on us to help consumers protect their digital moments, by removing complexity, and improving their overall user experience. To help redress the balance, we need to break down industry myths, and simplify everything we do, because the current approach to cybersecurity means that consumers find protecting their digital moments far too complex and confusing.
Living in the (digital) moment
Today, we interact digitally when we shop, train, work, socialise, and travel. We even use our devices to relax and unwind. And when you take this into consideration, cybersecurity becomes more about securing digital moments, not devices. Unfortunately, I believe the industry is failing consumers by not protecting these moments well enough.
With almost every moment of the day being a digital one, there has been a massive jump in consumers’ digital skills and the amount of time we spend online. According to recent post-pandemic research that we carried out, one in three people said they had increased their amount of mobile shopping and banking, making us increasingly more vulnerable to cyber criminals.
And when it comes to cybersecurity, we are not delivering it in a way that can be easily understood and applied. Instead, cybersecurity is seen as too complex. It’s confusing, complicated and results in friction, which leads to inaction. If we are to help in the fight against cybercrime, we must break the cycle by removing these barriers.
Making it simple
Our research has found that even the tech-savvy struggle, with 72% of consumers admitting that managing the security of their devices felt like an almost impossible task, and 57% willing to pay more for simpler experiences. We must listen to this.
As experts we have a crucial role to play in demystifying the jargon and debunking the myths. Consumers don’t think twice about buying car, travel, home, and life insurance, and protection against digital fraud shouldn’t be any different. With cyber criminals becoming increasingly savvy, many people are now vulnerable. And rather than viewing digital security as a ‘nice to have’ it should be seen as a ‘must have’.
To improve how we reach consumers, I would like to see more cross-sector collaboration in this industry. If we could work with other financial providers, we could combine our efforts to keep consumers safe. For example, cybersecurity brands linking up with banks or mobile networks will bring more accessibility to cybersafe technology.
In addition, I would like to see experts in our field roll out educational campaigns. Ultimately, if we don’t understand something then there is no product in this world that can protect us because we won’t ever know how to use it. Education is crucial.
Young and old – everyone should be familiar and comfortable with what cybersecurity is, how it works, how it helps and why it’s crucial in today’s digital world. Awareness is vital, too: it comes down to the famous AIDA marketing model; if we have Awareness, we spark Interest, Desire and then what this industry needs – Action.
Government also has a role to play. With online crime now affecting individuals as much as businesses, we can expect to see the government focus on how they can protect their citizens from being exploited. However, creating new regulations will be complex, given both the scale and fast-moving nature of online crime. But as an industry, we must keep pushing for it. We need help on a national level, particularly at a time of austerity. Because when households are watching their spending, they are more likely to switch providers or use new companies, thus exposing themselves to criminals, if they don’t take the necessary measures to protect their digital identities.
Every cybersecurity provider wants to keep its customers secure. But to provide a smooth, simple experience for the end user, we need to cut out the noise, debunk the myths, demystify the confusion, and remove the jargon. So, let’s do it.
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