Author: David Webber
It’s now been six months since the infamous Talk Talk cyber-attack, but the company is still feeling the impact.
It was recently revealed that the attack cost Talk Talk £60 million and most importantly, it lost over 100,000 customers as a result.
Unfortunately, according to the Office of National Statistics, this attack was not in isolation, with over 2.5 million cyber-crimes committed in England and Wales last year. A recent report by PWC on global economic crime backs this up, highlighting the rapid growing pace of cyber-crime – in 2014, it made up just 20% of Britain’s economic crime, but has since jumped to 44%.
Cyber attacks and it’s impact on customer trust
Customers of the companies affected are arguably the most vulnerable in the wake of cyber- attacks, with their data being one of the prime targets for these criminals. It’s therefore unsurprising that they have a devastating impact on customer trust. In fact, research from Deloitte reveals that 73% of people would reconsider using a company if it failed to keep their data safe.
While the Talk Talk hackers caused less damage than originally feared (4% of the company’s four million customers were affected and no financial loss was incurred, despite the disclosure of payment details), the repercussions for the company’s reputation and for customer perceptions are undeniable.
So, as these criminals look toward increasingly intelligent tactics, what do companies need to do to hold on to customer trust?
Former Defence Secretary, the Rt Hon Liam Fox recently stated that it should be a legal requirement for companies to come forward when they have been victim to cyber-crime. However, while, transparency is certainly important for customers, companies should also be investing in more innovative security methods to prevent their customers’ data from being compromised in the first place. They also need to be educating their customers about these innovations, reassuring them that these will help keep their personal details safe online.
Many companies have already been exploring how to make the authentication process more secure, taking advantage of the growing popularity of biometrics. Amazon is the latest company to jump on this, having recently revealed it is launching “selfie pay” mechanisms for its customers. Digital only banking provider Atom will also be enabling selfie logins when it launches later this month.
The need to address security threats in real-time
While these developments mark a strong step forward for customers, investment in securing the ‘perimeter fence’ is not enough. Businesses, and particularly those operating in the financial services space, where data protection is paramount, also need to address the business applications themselves. Providers need to up their game in order to address threats in real-time, monitoring user behaviour for inconsistencies.
Attacks such as Talk Talk’s means customers are increasingly focussed on how businesses respond to this ever-evolving threat. Companies must ensure they invest wisely in new security methods in order to successfully protect their customers and their reputations. Transparency, innovation and communication will all play a part in rebuilding customer trust.
Interested in online security? Read more in our Opinion Piece: Progressive Security: A New Standard for Digital Banking [pdf]