Together with the Swedish Tax Agency, Cirio Law Firm and IAB Sweden, we are proud to present the 2019 edition of “Delade Meningar”, the most comprehensive report on the Swedish people’s attitudes to digital integrity.
At Ports Group, we have for a long time been devoted to digital integrity. Therefore, we felt honoured when asked to co-sponsor the production of the 2019 report. This is the fifth consecutive report on this topic and it is interesting to see the development in many of the recurring questions over the years.
You will find a link to the report in the end of this article. However, before you proceed, I wanted to take the opportunity to highlight/elaborate on some the findings in the report.
Brief introduction to the report
As stated, the report aims to investigate the Swedish people’s view of digital integrity and how it has developed over the years. But what is “digital integrity” really?
In short, Digital Integrity is about how personal information is gathered, managed and shared in the digital world.
In the 2019 report, unlike previous years’ reports, we have chosen to include if/how the Swedish people’s views on how companies’ handling of personal information can affect the image of the brand. Something that we believe is of great value to our clients.
Insights from the 2019 report we feel should be highlighted:
Over 10% of all Swedes say they have been deceived, extorted or had their information hijacked after clicking on a link in an email or on a website.
In light of the recent incremental rise in email fraud, this figure may not be surprising.
For us at the Ports Group, the intangible parts of a brand, such as its reputation and credibility, are closely linked to the protection of the brand. This is because a brand that is well protected legally minimizes the risks of abuse, and, of course, reduced risk of abuse leads to a reduced risk of trademark damage. This has been well known for a long time.
However, it is becoming increasingly clear that legal protection alone is not enough to create brand security. You also need to ensure digital and technical protection of the brand. For example, ensuring that one’s brand cannot be used for sending out false email messages in one’s name.
Only 3% of all Swedes are worried about their integrity when using email.
This is, in a way, paradoxical when e-mail is one of the most common vectors to obtain sensitive information and/or spread malicious code.
At the same time, the general awareness that the email system basically lacks authentication mechanisms that can prevent unauthorized people from sending email from a particular company’s domain is still very low.
One can speculate that this is the reason why email scams are such a common and effective method of fraud.
74% of all Swedes believe that companies have quite a large or very large responsibility for protecting themselves against fraud where email is sent in their name.
This was a very important insight for us and something that every company should take to heart.
There has long been a misconception that a company cannot protect itself against fraudsters sending emails that appear to come from the company in question, in order to obtain sensitive information and/or spread malicious code.
Therefore, there has also been a widespread misconception that the recipient of a fraudulent email does cannot blame the company whose name has been abused.
For the first time, there is data that once and for all crushes this potential misconception.
A large part of the Swedish people therefore consider that the responsibility lies with companies to protect themselves – and by extension the people – against their name being used for email fraud.
The digital actions of a company can become an increasingly important component in viewing the brand.
It is evident in the report that the choices companies make regarding how to act digitally can influence the view of the brand positively or negatively. For example, 72% of the respondents state that their view of a brand would be positively affected if they openly publish data leaks, errors or problems and mistakes that have arisen and how they address them.
If we combine the following insights:
- Digital abuse of brands is steadily increasing
- An overwhelming majority of all Swedes believe that it is the companies that are responsible for ensuring that their brand is not used to fraud the public
- The digital actions of companies can become an increasingly important part in viewing the brand
Therefore, the logical conclusion is that companies that fail to protect their brands in the digital world will suffer from trademark damage if/when their brands are being abused.
The consequence is also that the prioritization/investment to protect one’s brands – not only legally but also digitally and technically – is no longer particularly difficult to justify.
Here are some examples of immediate measures companies can take in order to reduce the risk of trademark damage and at the same time protect the Swedish people’s digital integrity:
- Ensure and monitor your trademark rights so that you can act quickly and effectively to prevent trademark abuse
- Ensure that your primary email domain has monitoring and authentication mechanisms for preventing unauthorized users and servers from sending email from it. For example, implementing our Email Compromise Protection service, the new “best practice” for outgoing email security.
- Ensure that all other domains in your portfolio that do not have an active email function have the right set-up to prevent outgoing email traffic altogether.
At Ports Group, we can of course help you set this up.