The results of new research in the UK have revealed that 88% of Britons see cybercrime as now being as big a threat as offline crime, whilst 76% of people believe governments and large organisations are not doing enough to combat hackers and cybercrime.
In addition, a huge 93% of people surveyed by online security company vestvpn.com think online crime is going to get considerably worse over the next ten years.
Researchers also asked British internet users what measures they take to avert the threat of computer viruses, hacking or cybercrime, with a security conscious 83% saying they use anti-virus software. However, the limitations of the most popular anti-virus solutions in preventing hacking, phishing and scams mean there is still huge room for improvement amongst internet users.
This was further highlighted by the survey finding that just 19% of Britons regularly change their online passwords or use a random password generator. Alarmingly 7% of internet users in the UK take no personal security measures whatsoever online, whilst 10% avoid banking and shopping online completely due to fear of cybercrime.
Meanwhile, 26% of Brits acknowledge they have been confronted with an attempted online scam in the last five years. Over the same five year period, 8% of Britons have actually suffered financial losses in an online scam, just 3% less than the 11% who have suffered financial losses in an offline / real-life crime.
Another alarming statistic to emerge from the study was that 16% of the adult UK population – approximately 7.84 million people – have been the victim of a virus or hack in the last five years in which email or personal data was compromised.
Asked what most concerns them about online crime 37% responded ‘potential financial losses, whilst for 30% the main worry is ‘potential theft of personal data’, followed by 14% who fear for their family’s safety.
Stuart Spice, whose online security company Vest carried out the survey, commented, “The sheer scale of online crime, hacking and identity breaches globally and in the UK means most people are familiar with the key issues, even if many of us are not quite sure what to do about it.”
“Large companies and government organisations are themselves unable to prevent hacks and online theft of both data and financial assets, so many individuals feel helpless against criminals online, with the threats often coming from beyond the UK. Anti virus software can only go so far, so ensuring your internet connection is truly secure and following guidelines on matters such as rigid password security can make a huge difference to your online safety.”
Vest’s research on consumer cybercrime experience and perceptions was carried out in March of 2016 and all survey respondents were UK based internet users over the age of 18. Vest are online privacy and security specialists.