Skip to main content

More than half of Brits have been the victim of online crime

As part of its Get Safe Online Week 2014, the Cabinet Office has revealed that 51 per cent of UK residents have been the victim of cyber crime.

The government report is based on a survey of 2,000 people by Vision Critical, which also revealed that half of the victims of online crime feel "very or extremely violated by their experience."

Read more: New cyber crime police unit arrests UK man over illegal streaming sites (opens in new tab)

George Anderson, director of product marketing at Internet security firm Webroot has said that the report is "sad, but not surprising."

"The Internet has become assimilated into our daily lives, from banking to retail, to the point where it's easy to forget how hazardous it is if the proper security measures aren't taken," he said. "The key to making the UK a safe Internet user zone is education. As a country, as communities and as individuals we should be actively promoting awareness of Internet safety and security issues."

With 53 per cent of respondents now viewing online crime to be as serious as "physical world" crimes, many respondents have improved their online behaviour. 42 per cent have increased the strength of their passwords, while 42 per cent are now extra vigilant when shopping online.

However, despite the increased awareness of cyber crime, many still do not have the most basic protection. 54 per cent of mobile phone users do not have a password or PIN for their device and Mr Anderson believes that individuals need to take greater responsibility over how they protect their information.

"The modern person should by now know that computers should be protected by updated, best-of-breed antispyware and antivirus software, have safe surfing habits and a full comprehension of online activities that put their information at more risk than others, be able to identify and understand website privacy policies and know when or when not to give out personal data."

Read more: Only 2% of UK police trained to deal with cybercrime (opens in new tab)

The full Cabinet Office report, "Don't be a victim," is available here (opens in new tab).

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with IT Pro Portal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.