Fraud could rise if retail customers use Facebook login

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Online retailers should consider boosting their identity and access management controls considering that, by the end of 2015, half of new customers signing into merchant websites will be using their social networking credentials, according to Gartner.

The Stamford, Conn.-based IT research company on Tuesday released findings that an increasing number of users will access retail sites using linked social networking sites like Facebook.

Gartner highlighted a significant increase in this activity over the next couple of years: Today, less than 5 percent of retail customer identities are based on social networking profiles.

Ant Allan, research vice president at Gartner, said in a release that users desire the convenience of importing required registration information to retail sites. But this will carry risks, namely, including the increased likelihood of fraud.

"[T]he lack of identity proofing and weak authentication for social network identities can expose merchants to more fraud," Gartner said. "Service providers therefore have to defend themselves. They may allow social network registration, but augment the process with additional controls when a retail site provides access to sensitive data and monetary transactions."

The trend will, however, fuel higher demand of specialized vendors that support the use of social networking identities through “open standard,” or publicly available, authentication systems like OpenID or OAuth, which are used by sites like Twitter and Facebook, Allan said.

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