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Mobile users happy with biometric authentication: PayPal and NCSA survey


PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance have just published the results from a new Zogby poll on mobile security and commerce, which has found biometrics to be a popular choice of authentication among consumers.

“Mobile devices present unique security advantages including location information and biometric authentication. According to our survey, more than half of mobile consumers are comfortable using biometrics to authenticate themselves on mobile devices. Many users do not realize that location information can help detect and prevent fraudulent transactions. For example, if a transaction takes place in San Francisco and another one in Dallas a few minutes later, we can investigate for suspicious activity,” Andy Steingruebl, Director of Ecosystem Security, PayPal said.

According to the companies, the survey was performed in support of the National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)

“NCSAM presents a great opportunity for PayPal and the NCSA to educate consumers on mobile security, and highlight the continued innovation across the industry to keep users safe online,” Steingruebl said.

The survey was based on the responses of more than 1,000 U.S. adults and gave a clear picture of the role mobile devices play in daily life. Two-thirds of the people surveyed said that their smartphone is never further than one room away, and one in ten said they keep their phone handy wherever they go. In addition, the survey highlighted the growing importance of mobile devices as a tool for shopping, with one in four respondents reporting that they complete at least one transaction per day on a smartphone, while one in six said they make at least 25 percent of all their purchases on a smartphone.

According to the companies, the survey also uncovered a general sense of unease about the security of financial information on mobile devices if lost or stolen and made it clear that many people aren’t taking the steps necessary to use their mobile devices safely.

For example, nearly 70 percent of Americans believe that storing payment information on their smartphone is unsafe. The survey also found that 63 percent of people do not have a clear idea about what financial information is stored on their smartphones and more than half don’t lock their mobile device with a PIN.

“The survey results clearly indicate that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to conduct transactions,” Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance said. “However, they also show that consumers need to get more active about mobile security, especially around basic security measures such as adding a PIN code or password to their devices and understanding what kinds of information their devices store.”

Significantly, the survey found that many people are open to new approaches to mobile security that would increase their safety. In particular, there are strong indications that many people are willing to take advantage of biometric technology to protect themselves against mobile security threats. The survey found that Americans are overwhelmingly comfortable replacing passwords with newer security technologies such as fingerprint identification (53 percent) and retinal scans (45 percent).

The NCSA and PayPail will discuss these survey results, as well as suggested mobile security tips during a Twitter chat on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3 p.m., with the hashtag #ChatSTC. More information is available at www.stopthinkconnect.org/twitterchats

The findings of this recent survey match that of others that have been published as of late.

Reported previously, a survey conducted by Nuance Communications,  found that smartphone users have grown frustrated with current authentication methods and 90% of them are eager to use biometrics in place of existing methods.

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