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Consumer privacy concerns increase by almost a third during Covid-19 pandemic

Digital Identity Digital & Commerce Banking & Finance
  • 33% of those who feel their privacy concerns have increased say this is because they don’t know what data is being collected about them, and 29% say it’s because they’ve shared more as they access more online services than before.
  • Only 36% of UK consumers claim they’re confident in the security of their passwords, with a similar number (33%) waiting for prompts by businesses to change them

Almost a third (32%) of UK consumers are more concerned about their privacy online following the Covid-19 pandemic, according to an online survey of 2,000 UK adults commissioned by digital identity pioneer Callsign.

A third of those who are concerned (33%) claim it’s because they don’t know what data is being collected about them by companies and organizations online, and 29% say it’s because they feel as though they’ve had to share more, as the pandemic has forced more services and businesses online.

Despite these concerns, and that only 36% of consumers claim confidence in their password security, just a third of UK adults (33%) only update their passwords when prompted to do so by a business or organization.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, when asked to select the three most secure and trustworthy forms of security authentication, over half select fingerprint scanning (54%), over four in ten selected one-time passwords (43%) and nearly a third selected facial recognition (32%), yet only one-in-ten (10%) have signed up to use more biometric authentication methods.

World Password Day, which takes place on the first Thursday in May ever year, is designed to promote better password habits. However, with stronger authentication methods now widely available, Callsign is calling on consumers and businesses to consider stronger authentication methods.

Amir Nooriala, chief commercial officer at Callsign, said: “The role of the password has changed dramatically in the last few years, with new authentication methods available to validate who we are. The fact that consumers are worried about privacy when using their digital identities highlights how digital identification needs to change. This has become even more important since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nooriala continued: “It needs to become simpler and more secure. Organizations need to build solutions that don’t compromise privacy for security or user experience.”

The study, which was conducted by YouGov and sampled 2,130 adults across the UK, also revealed a number of other password habits, including:

  • Only 38% of consumers feel comfortable using static biometrics, such as fingerprint ID or facial recognition, to confirm their identity when using a service or buying a product
  • Despite a lack of confidence in the security of passwords, and 30% of adults resetting passwords because they can’t remember them, only 20% of adults currently use a password manager

Commenting on these findings, Nooriala said: “It’s time to stop focusing on passwords as a secure way to authenticate users. Instead, businesses should look at building other verification methods into their customer security strategies, such as passive behavioral biometrics which are analyzed against thousands of contextual data points to make sure the user is who they say they are.”

Nooriala continues: “This allows consumers to access services such as online banking as quickly as possible, while giving them peace of mind that they’ll be safe online.”

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