People love a good scapegoat. The real assignment of blame is never quite as interesting as the people or companies we choose to point a finger at. Internet security and online privacy is no different.
For years, users have had the boogieman of hackers hanging over their head as the nameless and faceless threat and sole reason for backing up your computer or keeping an antivirus installed. Now we have the faceless and all-encompassing specter of unchecked governmental spying as the halcyon of encryption and security.
But, what if the main culprit for many of our online security vulnerability woes is us?
The HP Report
A newly released report by HP, called the HP 2013 Cyber Risk Report, has found a new group to blame for many of the security vulnerabilities found in apps - the users.
HP compiled data that it had gathered from over 2200 applications scanned by the HP Fortify on Demand application. The results found that 80 percent of the vulnerabilities discovered were not due to a fault in the applications code. The report suggests that most issues arose from outdated software versions, improper settings, and other user defined issues.
In addition to the 2200 applications scanned, over 180 iOS and Android apps were also scanned through HP Fortify on Demand. The results showed that nearly half of the apps left user information vulnerable even though the platforms include encryption capabilities.
The weakest link
Online security, or any security system at all, is only as good as the weakest part. Unfortunately, the weakest part in nearly every online service and application will always be the user. No matter how secure an application or operating system is thought to be, it will be undermined by a user setting it up incorrectly and leaving it exposed to risk.