Seven in ten Britons fear for their online security

For every ten British adults, seven are seriously concerned about the privacy of their online data and fear it might get stolen by hackers, a new study has revealed.

The study, conducted by international internet-based market research firm YouGov, surveyed more than 2,000 British adults and found that 72 per cent are concerned about their private online information, while 32 per cent are willing to pay someone to keep their data safe.

Also, 29 per cent thought it was their responsibility to safeguard their online information.

“Gone are the days when consumers took a back seat in protecting their data online,” The Guardian quotes chief executive of security firm CloudMask, Wael Aggan.

“High-profile data breaches, including celebrities’ nude photographs being pasted over the internet, credit card details being hacked and governments gaining permission to access Google and Microsoft customer data is forcing consumers to take more control of their privacy.”

YouGov’s survey also found that 70 per cent of people signing up for different online services give away information like address and date of birth, which are often considered part of the secret personal information used to verify a person’s identity for banking and other secure services.

Still, more than half of those surveyed said that they wouldn’t pay to be protected, and 61 per cent believe whoever they’re signing up to should keep their data safe.

“Consumers are becoming much more aware of the need to protect their personal data online and even though this survey shows they might be prepared to pay to do that, it is still ultimately the responsibility of the businesses who hold that data to make sure they follow the laws around data protection”, said Garreth Cameron from the information commissioner’s office.

If you're concerned about your safety online, check out our guide detailing 14 ways to strengthen your online security.