A week ago, a friend of mine had her identity stolen. Her social media accounts and then email accounts were taken over by an attacker, and ultimately her smart devices and home appliances became partially controlled. It was traumatic, and she is still dealing with the consequences that naturally go along with such ambush.
Do you also know someone who has also been a victim? To give you an idea about how common this is, in 2017 about 1 billion identities were stolen. While this may sound astonishingly high, it’s still not an exceptional year compared to others.
The complexity and diversity of consumer products is increasing exponentially, and consumer tech companies are racing for faster time-to-market with innovations from chip design, personal IOT, 5G to AI on the Edge. But these are double edged swords, helping not only those who want to simplify their lives with technology and data, but also those who want to attack it. The connective power of 5G enables a greater number of endpoints, resulting in more possible openings through which an attack can penetrate and proliferate through a network.
Individuals will also become increasingly vulnerable as fewer consumer technology giants dominate the market and we become ever more dependent on their services. For example, Yahoo! experienced a large-scale data breach in 2013 which affected 3 billion consumers – almost half of the world’s population.
Also, cyber-attacks are professionalizing: Tools are improving, becoming more accessible even to amateurs, which increases the risk for corporations and groups of consumers.
These trends enable more and new forms of cyber risks, from malware on smart devices and appliances, ransomware and identity fraud to cyberbullying. And they also increase cyber risk arising from simple human error by consumers.
Consumers are overwhelmed
Have you ever received an email from your email hosting or payments provider asking to click on a link to change your security settings? Or nearly ordered from an online shop that looked like your favorite store, but wasn’t? Have you updated all factory passwords of your home appliances, and continued to upgrade their firmware (or enabled auto-upgrade)?
It’s a big challenge for consumers to stay up-to-date on the latest developments on cyber risks, how to secure against them and how to respond when they happen.
Locking the door, protecting consumers
How can we help consumers? Cash payments post-cyber event don’t really solve consumers’ problems and may even incentivize attackers to become sneakier about their business.
However, consumers would benefit from holistic, well-orchestrated “safety services” which increase awareness and educate consumers, providing professional prevention and detection solutions, as well as consulting services to assist in every step of the process during or after a cyber event.
Providing these services in a simple way is challenging and delivering them at scale even more so. Data-driven solutions that utilize existing hardware will play a key role, nudging consumer behavior, allowing real-time prevention and digital-first personalized advice.
But who should provide this “digital bubble wrap” to consumers? Is it telecommunications, utilities, consumer technology or insurance companies – which is best-positioned to produce and distribute these services to consumers?
At iptiQ, we collaborate with partners across industries to curate ecosystems which are designed to solve the consumer’s problems. We operate efficiently and securely thanks to our digital-first, cloud-based insurance and service platform. We co-create and continuously evolve our solutions through our relentless test-and-learn culture. Data and knowledge are at the heart of our solutions, driving simplicity and value for consumers.
With every consumer problem we solve, we directly improve people’s lives and create growth opportunities for our partners. If you want to further explore these opportunities with us, let’s engage in a discussion on working together to solve the cyber protection challenge together. I look forward to hearing from you!