PII capturing websites still applying poor security measures one year after GDPR

One year after the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect, 1 in 10 PII capturing websites belonging to the top 10 UK financial services organizations are still doing so without adequate security measures, potentially breaching GDPR guidelines, RiskIQ has discovered.

PII capturing websites security measures

Across 48,949 active websites, RiskIQ research found that out of 4,512 sites capturing PII through data entry points accessible by site visitors, 11.5 percent of these sites (522 sites) are capturing PII insecurely. This equates to an average of 52 sites per organization.

A PII capturing website is one which accepts user input that can identify an individual. Examples of PII include input data such as name, address, date of birth, email address and login credentials.

In addition to web pages with data entry fields, the research also extends to pages with iframes and pop-up windows that populate during a browser session and accept data. RiskIQ identifies these by referencing the Document Object Model (DOM) of each page of a web site. This method is language agnostic and identifies PII capture regardless of the site language.

RiskIQ research found:

  • Out of 3,940 public websites with a login page, 442 of these sites (11 percent) capture login information insecurely.
  • Out of 572 sites capturing PII through data entry fields accessible by site visitors, 80 of these sites (14 percent) are capturing personal information insecurely.

Insecure sites are defined as those websites that capture data in clear text using the HTTP protocol or sites with certificate issues, such as expired certificates, misconfigured certificates or using old and untrusted certificates. The findings highlight one of the key challenges businesses face in the protection of PII, as required by GDPR.

“This research shows that organizations are continuing to make progress in ensuring that personal data entered online is collected in a secure manner,” said Fabian Libeau, VP EMEA at RiskIQ.

“However, that we still see instances serves to highlight that there is more to be done. Most organizations are continuing to expand their web presence and it’s vitally important that they maintain a complete inventory of those sites and the PII collecting pages they contain.”