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Brits Believe Cyber-Attacks Are ‘Getting More Personal’

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Get Safe Online report finds that despite fears over cybercrime, British consumers still lack valuable knowledge in staying safe online

A UK-wide survey by safety watchdog Get Safe Online has found that more than one in five (21 percent) victims of cybercrime believe they were specifically targeted by fraudsters looking to get hold of personal information or assets.

More than a third (37 percent) were left feeling vulnerable as a result, suggesting that security companies may need to do more to ensure their customers feel protected from the latest threats. More than half of British consumers believe that it’s becoming much easier to fall victim to an online crime than before.

Wise up

securityThe survey also indicates that the British public are becoming more aware of cybercrime, which is leading to an increase in knowledge of the risks. Thirty percent of those surveyed said they believed they know more about online safety now compared to a year ago, with a further 21 percent say they know more than they did two years ago.

This awareness has been heightened by several recent high profile data breaches, which has also had an effect on the amount of information users share with companies. Nearly two thirds (64 percent) say they are now more cautious about sharing their personal data with companies, with women (69 percent) found to be much more cautious than men (60 percent).

Growing risk?

However despite this growth in knowledge, it seems that more can still be done. Almost two thirds (65 percent) claim they could do more to stay safe online.  Almost a quarter (22 percent) aren’t conscious about using strong passwords, 13 percent still have public social media accounts and one in 10 don’t bother using security software on their connected devices.

uk cybersecurity lock ©shutterstock Borislav Bajkic“As we spend more of our lives online, our digital footprints inevitably get bigger,” said Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online. “Sadly, that means opportunist fraudsters will use information about us to make their scams more believable and difficult to detect. Being online offers so many great opportunities for everyone and we would never discourage anyone from enjoying and benefiting from them.

“However, we do urge people to take precautions so they don’t make themselves vulnerable to underhanded scammers.”

Neate emphasised the simple steps that users can take to protect themselves online, including putting a password on connected devices such as phones or tablets, using the highest security settings on social media accounts, and never disclosing confidential details when are contacted by an email or on the phone, as a legitimate organisation would never ask for this.

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