How Companies Are Safeguarding Users Against Data Security Threats

How Companies Are Safeguarding Users Against Data Security Threats
Technology

New security methods keep user data safe by making sure it doesn't stay in one place for too long

PSFK
  • 8 may 2018

Being safe online no longer simply entails installing anti-virus software and forgetting about it. With more of personal details floating around than ever before, it’s become increasingly complicated for users to control where their information goes and how it’s used. Likewise, it’s more challenging than ever for companies to ensure user data is safe from ill-intended hackers.

According to recent data from Pew Research Center, 86% of internet users have taken steps online to remove or mask their digital footprints, but many say they would like to do more or are unaware of tools they could use. This is why companies should make sure that they not only embed security into the customer experience, but also keep up with ever-changing best practices.

From incentivizing users to find program bugs to encryption methods that keep users data safe, PSFK researchers identified three trends in dynamic protection, where companies gain and sustain a competitive advantage by providing transparent and personalized security services to customers.

Decentralized Encryption

Companies are developing new ways to verify identity and access to sensitive data using authenticators that evolve, change and update over time. Messaging giant WhatsApp, for example, has implemented end-to-end encryption on its platform and across all mobile platforms so users data is held in a decentralized location. This means that the content of communications are not stored in plaintext on WhatsApp’s servers, nor is the company able to decrypt users’ messages to access them since it does not hold the encryption keys. So WhatsApp will be unable to be compelled to hand over messaging data—even if served with a warrant by authorities demanding access.

Ephemeral Information

New technologies are leveraging data that dynamically changes and self-destructs to provide a new level of security and protection for consumers in the physical and digital world. Messaging app Wickr is designed to do just that, creating a completely secure and encrypted line of communication between two users. To achieve this, every message is given a lifespan by its author and any message will be automatically deleted when the given time is up. Unlike other apps, Wickr does not upload the user’s contact book or past messages to their servers. The service is harnessed to protect private information and provide a secure means to transmit data ensuring users that no private correspondence or information ever leaves the user’s device.

Crowdsourced Security

Companies are now discovering new ways to harness the power of the crowd, with initiatives that leverage the ingenuity of users around the world to discover potential design flaws and security risks before they become larger issues. Software company Microsoft developed a bug bounty program for bugs in Windows 10 operating systems. Microsoft stoutly believes in the worth of the bug bounties and hopes that it serves to improve its security capabilities. In order to address any probable security problems before they could turn out to be a worry for the public at large, the program is offering tech users payments of up to $250,000 for anybody who is capable of discovering vulnerabilities in Hyper-V and $15,000 to those who will discover security bugs in Windows 10 or Microsoft Edge preview.

These are just a few examples of the ways in which companies can use both human and computer smarts to improve security and the user experience. For even more examples as well as other trends, check out our recent report Building Brand Trust Through Privacy Tools.

Being safe online no longer simply entails installing anti-virus software and forgetting about it. With more of personal details floating around than ever before, it’s become increasingly complicated for users to control where their information goes and how it’s used. Likewise, it’s more challenging than ever for companies to ensure user data is safe from ill-intended hackers.

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+technology
+Transactions & Payments
+UX
+WhatsApp

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