One in five consumers has experienced cyber crime in the last year, costing the nation £1.6bn, according to Norton’s Cybersecurity Insights Report.
This equates to more than 12m people in total. Norton said that over the last year, UK consumers lost more than one working day dealing with the fallout from online crime and nearly £134 per person.
The survey of over 1,000 consumers found 44 per cent of people had been victims of cyber crime during their lifetime and 22 per cent in the last year.
When it came to pointing the finger at culprits, 45 per cent of UK consumers blamed foreign countries and government – compared to the global average of 35 per cent. Suspicion also fell elsewhere, with ten per cent of Brits assuming the main culprits were smart kids hacking into systems for fun.
Despite the frequency of cyber attacks and many taking the form of stolen identities, 42 per cent didn’t take the time to change their account passwords after a security compromise.
The rise of ecommerce has also played a part, with the popularity of online shopping also bringing with it cyber security issues. Online retail sales are predicted to reach £52.5bn in the UK this year, marking a 16.2 per cent increase on 2014.
One in seven UK victims have had their financial information stolen as a result of shopping online.
While a common perception is that the older demographics are more at risk of cyber crime with the assumption that they are less tech savvy, the research found those born in a digital era are actually more likely to experience cyber crime. Nearly a third of millennials have experienced online crime in the past year, compared to 15 per cent of baby boomers.
Millennials were twice as likely to share their passwords and a third admitted they had abandoned an online account rather than close it as it was easier. The laissez-faire approach to cyber security along with a desensitisation to its risks – more than a third felt security breaches had become so frequent they no longer had real consequences – is seemingly putting younger internet users more at risk of cyber attacks.
Digital extortion in the form of ransomware was also a prevalent issue. Some 15 per cent of cyber crime victims were affected by it, and many of those targeted never received their digital assets and files back, even though they had paid the ransom.
Nick Shaw, EMEA general manager, Norton Business Unit, said: “We no longer need convincing of the risks. Our findings demonstrate that people’s trust in online activity has been rattled, yet there still is not widespread adoption of simple protection measures that people should take to safeguard their information online.”
Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, added that online crime was “always personal” and fraudsters were becoming every more sophisticated in their approach, “using people’s individual data to target victims while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity”.
Simple measures such as making sure you never use the same passwords for all of your online accounts and keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date, can go a long way to protecting yourself online.
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