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Digital Terrorism Is The New Global Threat

The survey found that the top two security concerns for consumers are: Identity theft and bankcard fraud. These are threats that impact all businesses and government agencies

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The 2017 Unisys Security Index™global research study reveals how growing security concerns are diminishing the gap between developed and developing nations

Perhaps for the first time in history, the threat from our digital lives looms larger than the threats of our physical lives. The 2017 Unisys Security Indextracks the sentiments of citizens from 13 countries on national, financial, internet, and personal security and found that digital security is now perceived to be a greater threat than terrorism. As we embrace digital devices and services in our work and personal lives, we are also becoming concerned of the potential threats they bring.

Major Security Highlights
The survey found that the top two security concerns for consumers are: Identity theft and bankcard fraud. These are threats that impact all businesses and government agencies.

Interestingly, the level of concern in developed countries, including the US, Australia and UK, is rising faster than in emerging markets such as Philippines, Malaysia, Colombia or Brazil. This may be because people in the developed nations now realize just how dependent they are on digital systems and the risks they bring.

Overall, the highest level of concerns are among women; among people between the ages of 18 and 24 as opposed to those 55 or over; and among those with lower incomes as opposed to those with higher incomes.

The 2017 Global UnisysSecurity Index stands at 173, which is 20 percent higher than in 2014 - the last timethe global Unisys Security Index was fielded.Ten of the 13 countries surveyed countries are considered as having a serious level of concern about security issues.

Embracing a secure digital future
The world is moving towards a new digital era. We are at a period of time, where even complex transactions like banking can be done in our mobile phones. Simultaneously there has been an exponential rise in digital crimes. While the digital world offers great benefits, it also exposes new threats.Even though governments are trying to come up with cyber security strategies, they are not yet implemented effectively. There needs to be an ecosystem that seamlessly integrates laws, organizations and technology.As individuals and companies become more and more digitized they also become more dependent on external institutions to protect their privacy and ensure security. Internet of things, big data, cloud and mobility are important elements of our fast evolving digital future. But there must be just as much focus on integrating security measures at all levels tosafeguard sensitive data. Ensuring a balance between privacy, security and convenience are is integral for a secure digital future. We must understand in which circumstances people are willing to forgo some privacy - the Unisys Security Index research suggests this is driven by how much they trust an organization to protect the information given to them, whether the there is a sufficient personal benefit in return, and how much control they have over when and where an organization can access that information.

Protecting the integrity and reputation
Identity theft and financial fraud are most common concerns. With India Inc. investing resources in digital transactions, UPIs, UIDAI and more, security must remain top-of-mind for organizations operating in India.

If you look at banks, security is their license to trade. If they get that wrong or lose customer data, they will find themselves out of business within no time.Behavioral biometrics, micro-segmentation, predictive analytics and advanced identity and credentialing are areas that will have a dramatic impact on the future of finance. We envision a future where payments are transacted without the friction of passwords, and where privacy and security are balanced.

Acting against the fear of Security
The results of the Unisys Security Index highlight that individuals, enterprisesand governments need to take proactive steps to take to increase security. We must stop thinking of security as a ‘nice-to-have’. It is a ‘must-have’ that should be built intoeverything we do.

Organizations and governments should move the responsibility for security higher in the scheme of things. We must make it as a board-levelissue.

Anticipation is the first line of defense against threats. Our focus should be on prevention first, but always assume your organization will be compromised. Global organizations should also look at strengtheningcross-border security standards by working with trusted partners in creating solutions.
Securing your organization

With consumer anxiety over security and privacy at an all-time high, it is a wakeup call for businesses and government institutions alike to incorporate security into everything they do. A data breach can happen to any organization and it is a growing concern.Cyber security threats are here to stay and organizations need to proactively update their security systems and not just do damage control after an attack. It is very important to have a trusted security partner who understands your requirements and can provide relevant solutions. The companies should enable security systems that can anticipate such attacks and protect the data. Institutions will always choose a partner with a trustworthy security advisor, hence the stakeholders will also feel that the security needs are of primary concern.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

Tags assigned to this article:
Digital Terrorism cyber security consumers internet

Ravikumar Sreedharan

The author is Managing Director, Unisys India and Head of Global Delivery Network, Unisys

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