Connected devices will challenge user attitudes toward privacy, trust, passwords, report says

Report shows 77% of digital consumers interested in alternatives to usernames, passwords

The coming barrage of connected devices is challenging end-users to change their attitudes toward trust, privacy and the use of passwords, according to a recent study by Accenture.

In its "Digital Trust in the IoT Era" report, Accenture found that 77% of digital consumers would be interested in alternatives to usernames and passwords to protect them online. In addition, 60% of the 24,000 respondents across 24 countries believe usernames and passwords are cumbersome to use.

While those numbers represent a strong distaste for passwords, consumer interest in password alternatives have yet to show mass scale adoption, even for simple alternatives such as codes sent to smartphones. It is going to take a culture shift before discernible changes are seen on the password landscape. Even hackers are among those who haven't shifted.

But the survey has some other interesting statistics on trust and privacy that when combined with changing attitudes on passwords may add up to push end-users toward better security overall.

Of those surveyed, 54% of digital consumers are cautious about the information they share due to lack of confidence in the online security that protects their personal data. Respondents chose telecoms and banks as the two top institutions they would trust with their personal data. But even then, the numbers were only 33%.

Accenture said trust would be a valuable part of creating a bond between companies and their customers. In the future, companies that can establish and maintain trust with customers will be at an advantage, according to the report.

Accenture wrote in the report, "In fact, trust is a hugely important factor. Consumers must have confidence that the organization is collecting, storing and using their digital information in a manner that benefits and protects them."

In terms of privacy, 38% of respondents said they feel their privacy is being violated if a company shares information about them without their permission. In addition, 24% said advertising or recommendations based on the user's online behavior or searches is a violation of privacy.

The report said data breaches are up eightfold in the past decade. The report estimated that data breaches will more than double in 2014-2015 compared to 2012-2013. The report estimates that data breaches from 2014-2015 will eventually impact 900 million consumer accounts.

The survey was conducted online between October and November 2014.