Vulnerabilities / Threats

9/16/2009
06:12 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Consumers Accept Device Fingerprinting, Study Finds

To fight online fraud, consumers are warming to the idea of technology that identifies the device they're using.

Computer users are willing to accept device profiling if it leads to improved security and less sharing of personal information, according to a study conducted by the Ponemon Institute, an independent privacy research organization.

The study, Online Consumers' Reaction to Device Fingerprinting, was sponsored by ThreatMetrix, a security company that sells device profiling software.

Device profiling involves the analysis of information about an Internet user's hardware, software, and network traffic to identify typical usage patterns and to raise a red flag, if, for instance, the user is suddenly accessing a Web site with a different operating system or from a different country.

ThreatMetrix marketing VP Tom Grubb claims the company uses only public data to profile Internet users' machines, such as information about the browser and plug-ins being used, the operating system, TCP/IP packet headers, and sometimes cookies without any personally identifying information.

The Ponemon study found that 78% of the 551 adult Internet users surveyed believe online merchants, banks, and social networks should use technology, such as a "cookie" or software, to safeguard customers. But only 21% wanted to see online sites demand more personal data for authentication.

Almost 70% of respondents indicated that they could accept having their computers authenticated as part of an online purchase and 75% expressed a preference for computer authentication because it's easier than remembering passwords or answering questions about personal history.

Despite this, respondents also expressed worries that device identification could lead to exposure of personal information (33%) and that merchants might misuse device authentication data (12%).

The study demonstrates broad concern about online fraud but reluctance to be bothered with knowledge-based authentication or passwords. Consumers, in other words, want security but don't want to work for it.

In a phone interview, Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, said the acceptance of device profiling was a surprise given the longstanding privacy worries about cookies and other tracking mechanisms.

"People are more likely to feel that the anonymity of a technology is more important than the privacy it creates," he said.

Avivah Litan, a Gartner VP and analyst who focuses on financial fraud, acknowledged that device identification is being used by online banks and credit card issuers to help prevent account takeovers. But she said the technology has limits.

"It's not foolproof at all," she said. "If a cyber criminal takes over your browser, it won't work."

The technology is most useful, she said, as one layer among many.


Get all the data from this year's InformationWeek 500 survey free for a limited time. Our report examines business and technology best practices as well as IT investment trends among the nation's most innovative IT users. It also provides industry comparisons against which you can benchmark your company's strategies. Download the report here (registration required).

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft Word Vuln Went Unnoticed for 17 Years: Report
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  11/14/2017
Companies Blindly Believe They've Locked Down Users' Mobile Use
Dawn Kawamoto, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  11/14/2017
New Locky Ransomware Takes Another Turn
Kelly Sheridan, Associate Editor, Dark Reading,  11/10/2017
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Managing Cyber-Risk
An online breach could have a huge impact on your organization. Here are some strategies for measuring and managing that risk.
Flash Poll
The State of Ransomware
The State of Ransomware
Ransomware has become one of the most prevalent new cybersecurity threats faced by today's enterprises. This new report from Dark Reading includes feedback from IT and IT security professionals about their organization's ransomware experiences, defense plans, and malware challenges. Find out what they had to say!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.