Nearly 60% of Brits Still Do Not Reject Website Cookies, Study Finds

Thales, a digital security company, recently conducted research, indicating a concerning level of consumer apathy towards online safety among Brits, with many feeling overwhelmed by the intricate world of cybersecurity.

A Battle Against Complexity and Confusion

The findings present an unsettling scenario where 34% of UK citizens have willingly abandoned following cybersecurity best practices. This decision is not based on ignorance but rather, originates from feelings of despair and a perceived impossibility of navigating the complex digital security space. Interestingly, more than half of the respondents (51%) find it difficult to understand the fast-moving advances in technology and how they affect personal online security.

Cookies, Comfort and Negligence

Providing some insight into online behaviour, the research discloses that 56% of participants routinely accept cookies on websites. This choice, often favouring a smooth online experience, implies a disregard for the potential risks to their data and privacy.

The Perilous Path of Terms and Conditions

Equally concerning, 47% of respondents admitted to approving terms and conditions without thorough examination, a risky behaviour that could jeopardise their data privacy. A sentiment further complicated by the 57% who suspect companies of using complex language in terms and conditions to obfuscate the full scale of data surrender by individuals.

Chris Harris, EMEA Technical Director, Thales, commented, “The problem isn’t necessarily an awareness issue; there’s almost too much awareness of how to keep yourself safe that the public are feeling overwhelmed.”


Disinterest in Data Storage and Security

An intriguing 22% of those surveyed expressed a lack of understanding regarding the importance of the geographical location of their data storage. Furthermore, this lack of knowledge translates to 20% having no concern whatsoever about where companies store their data, even against the backdrop of ongoing data sovereignty issues troubling businesses.

Managing Multi-factor Authentication

Although technological advancements continue to introduce more comprehensive cybersecurity options, such as multi-factor authentication (MFA), only 44% of respondents utilise MFA for all their online accounts. This leaves a substantial number of users vulnerable to potential online threats, an unsettling reality given that MFA is a relatively simple measure to enhance online identity protection.

The Need for Accessible Communication

Harris continued, “Companies need to take this into consideration and factor into how they communicate with customers around how to keep their data safe.” For widespread understanding and adoption of cybersecurity best practices, it is imperative that businesses communicate using accessible, straightforward language, ensuring that consumers can comprehend and act upon advice without feeling swamped or confused.

In this vein, Harris posed a key question that businesses must ask themselves during Cyber Security Awareness Month: “How can individuals protect themselves from threats they don’t understand?”

The complexities of the digital domain, combined with consumer apathy and an overwhelming amount of information, present a notable dilemma. Both businesses and consumers must find a middle ground, a place where communication is clear, simple, and actionable. Only through this will the digital domain be a place where consumers can navigate safely and with confidence.