3 min Security

European consumers worry about online security and AI influence

Insight: Security

European consumers worry about online security and AI influence

Europeans are quite concerned about digital identity theft and the potentially detrimental role of AI in online security. An impressive 93 percent of those recently surveyed say they are concerned about forms of online identity fraud. The Dutch are the most concerned, although they are also less likely to be victims of cybercrime due to a more vigilant attitude.

According to research among 4,000 consumers in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the Netherlands commissioned by identity and access specialist Okta, more than half of those surveyed have changed their online behaviour in the past year. The main reason being increasing cyber attacks and the growing role of AI. In the Netherlands, 65 percent of consumers are concerned that AI is making the online environment less secure, the highest percentage among the countries surveyed.

In addition, 60 percent of the Dutch think that AI increases the likelihood of identity theft. This makes them more reluctant to embrace AI for online security than other Europeans. While in Germany, France and the UK ‘only’ a quarter of consumers feel uncomfortable when companies deploy AI for login security, this percentage is much higher for the Netherlands, at 41 percent.

Stolen bank credentials as the biggest fear

Plundered online bank accounts remain the biggest source of cyber anxiety for European consumers. In the UK, this is the biggest fear for 60 percent of consumers, compared to 59 percent in France and Germany and 49 percent in the Netherlands. In terms of attractive targets for criminals, Brits are particularly concerned about the security of their social media accounts. The Dutch, on the other hand, are more concerned about the security of DigiD, the government’s login system. Europeans are considerably less concerned about work accounts: only 2 percent consider this a favourable target for criminals.

The Dutch’ worries about their digital security shows in their handling of passwords. Only 8 percent use the same password for all accounts. This is considerably lower than in France, for example, where this number sits at 16 percent. Almost half (49 percent) of the Dutch use unique passwords or a password manager. This care seems to be paying off. Only 33 percent of Dutch people say they have ever been hacked, compared with the UK (38 percent), France (39 percent) and Germany (41 percent).

Security as a shared responsibility

It is also striking that 31 percent of Dutch people think digital security is a shared responsibility for consumers, businesses, and the government. This view is slightly less widespread in the rest of Europe.

Mark van Leeuwen, Regional Vice President Benelux at Okta, emphasizes the need for a robust security strategy: “With the ever-changing landscape – and with it changing threats -, and the rise of AI, it has never been more important to get cyber security right. Companies must move quickly to ensure they have the security strategy and robust culture in place to protect their data.”

The survey was commissioned by Okta and conducted by market research firm Cint. 4,054 consumers were surveyed. These include 1,019 in the United Kingdom, 1,021 in Germany, 1,012 in France and 1,001 in the Netherlands.

Also read: Okta CEO: “We’ve been at cyber war for some time”