Bothered? Brits Ignore Internet Safety Rules
Oct 21, 2013 (M2 PRESSWIRE via COMTEX) --
- 84% of us realise online safety is our own responsibility and two thirds (59%) of Brits have had bad online experiences, but many are still breaking the golden rules
- The average loss per victim of online crime is GBP236
- Less than half (42%) of adults have a password or PIN on their mobile
- Just one in four (25%) puts anti-virus on their mobile devices
- 47% of adults don't always log out of websites or apps when they've finished using them
LONDON - Much like using the rules of the road to keep safe, there are some very simple guidelines we can follow to protect ourselves when using the internet. But new research by not-for-profit organisation getsafeonline.org reveals that, despite the fact that the vast majority of Brits (84%) recognise that it's our own responsibility to be safe online, we are often not taking the most basic of precautions. This is resulting in an average loss of GBP236 per victim of online crime which could add up to a staggering GBP1.5 billion lost to criminal networks.
Put a PIN on it!
Some of the biggest online safety sins involve passwords. In fact, almost half of the 2,000 UK adults surveyed (47%) don't always log out of websites or apps when they've finished using them, which could be particularly dangerous as only 42% of adults use passwords or PINs on their mobiles, or the 38% who don't put one on their tablet. As mobile devices become more sophisticated, not protecting them with a password can be likened to leaving your keys in your front door, all of the contents are vulnerable to theft and huge bills could be run up in your name.
Also not to be forgotten is the use of default passwords, with a third (29%) still using the standard password on their home wifi, making it easy for neighbours to eat up their data, or eavesdrop on what they're doing online. But even when original passwords are used to protect devices and online accounts, half of Brits (49%) are using the same password for every single account, and at least four in ten (40%) are using the most obvious personal information to create them like pet's names (16%) or birthdays (12%). Using common passwords like these makes Brits easy prey for fraudsters.
The survey showed that another basic precaution being ignored by many is installing security software. Just one in four puts security software on their mobiles or tablets (21% and 18% respectively), putting them at a significantly higher risk of spyware, spam, viruses and fraud. This is significantly behind PCs and laptops which are protected 89% and 91% of the time.
It's not just down to technicalities
It is not just a lack of security that is putting people at risk online but there are a number of other behavioural misdemeanours, particularly when it comes to using social media. For example, the survey found that nearly a third (31%) of social media users have accepted a friend they don't know in real life, and a quarter (26%) regret something they have posted online. Almost a third (31%) of Snapchat users also do not filter their messages and will accept them from anyone, leaving them open to abuse or inappropriate content.
A bad experience costs time and money
Nearly two thirds (59%) of the respondents have had bad online experiences - ranging from an email account being hacked right through to having our credit or debit card details stolen. While time lost trying to sort out the problem was the main gripe, for those who lost money, the average was GBP236 per victim.
Tony Neate, CEO, getsafeonline.org said: "As this survey has shown, the most fundamental rules of online safety are not being followed by everyone all of the time. But the things we need to do to protect ourselves are really straightforward, and will save us time, money and hassle in the long run. This is why we've created a really simple 'code of conduct' for everyone to follow at home and at work. Just like crossing the road, there are certain things we should be doing automatically to make sure we stay safe and enjoy being online.
"At the moment only 48% of people are reporting bad experiences they've had online, so if you are unfortunate enough to be a victim of cybercrime do make sure you report it to the appropriate authority whether that is the social media site, Action Fraud or the police. Taking action will prevent the same thing happening to someone else, and will make the internet a safer place for other people to be."
Security Minister James Brokenshire said: "Get Safe Online Week is a great opportunity to highlight some quick and easy steps people can take to ensure their online experience stays a positive one.
"Alongside this practical advice we've launched the National Crime Agency and the National Cyber Crime Unit and taken the fight to the hackers, fraudsters and criminals who prey on innocent individuals. Building on the advice of Get Safe Online we will be launching a campaign in the New Year to encourage people to be more aware of their online safety."
People can get involved in Get Safe Online Week via Twitter (@GetSafeOnline) and Facebook (Get Safe Online) where experts will be on hand throughout the week to answer any questions and give advice on how to be safe online.
Online Code of Conduct: Simple steps to Get Safe Online
- PUT A PIN ON IT: Whether it's a phone, website or a social media account, your first line of defence is a PIN or password. Never use the same password, make sure it is hard to guess (don't use your pet's name, your birthday or your favourite football team) and never share your passwords with anyone.
- BE SOFTWARE SAVVY: Protect all your devices with anti-virus software and make sure you regularly install updates to any programs or apps, as they often include improved security settings.
- KEEP IT PRIVATE: Check the privacy settings on all of your social media accounts so that only the people you want to share your information with can see it.
- SECURE THE WIFI: Make sure your home WiFi is protected with a strong password that only you and your family know. When out and about never use a hotspot that may be unsecured, especially when what you're doing is personal or private.
- LOOK FOR THE PADLOCK: When shopping or banking online always check there is a padlock symbol in the web browser window when you have logged in or registered, and that the web address begins with 'https://'. The 's' stands for 'secure'.
- BID SMARTLY: When using an auction site, make sure you never transfer any money directly to a bank account or hand over any personal details. If you're thinking of making a big purchase like a car, or finding somewhere to live, always make sure it exists and is genuine.
- LOG-OUT/LOG-OFF: Always make sure you log out of your accounts when you've finished with them and log off a computer when you've finished using it.
- POST IN HASTE, REPENT AT LEISURE: What goes online stays online so never say anything that could hurt, anger or endanger yourself or someone else.
- MANAGE YOUR MESSAGES: Never open or forward a suspicious looking email, or respond to a social media message from someone you don't know.
- REPORT IT: If you are a victim of online crime, report it to www.actionfraud.police.uk, this way we can all help to make the internet a safer place
GetSafeOnline.org on social media:
- Twitter: @getsafeonline
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GetSafeOnline
- Pinterest: https://pinterest.com/getsafeonline/
- Google+: https://plus.google.com/111686736307855785273
For further information:
- Contact the Get Safe Online press office team on 0207 025 6662 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Visit www.getsafeonline.org/go/media
- Interviews with Tony Neate, CEO, GetSafeOnline.org, available on request
About Get Safe Online and Get Safe Online Week
Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org), which is now entering its eighth year, is the UK's national internet security awareness initiative. A joint partnership between the Government, the National Crime Agency (NCA), Ofcom and private sector sponsors from the worlds of technology, communication, retail and finance, the initiative continues to educate, inform and raise awareness of internet security issues to encourage confident, safe use of the internet.
About Tony Neate, CEO, GetSafeOnline.org
Tony Neate is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Get Safe Online - the UK's leading source of unbiased, authoritative and easy-to-understand information on protection against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online.
Few people can boast as much experience in cyber crime. A 30-year Police career saw Tony progress from South Wales Police's Commercial Fraud Squad dealing largely with computer, investment and credit card fraud, to being responsible for industry liaison within the National Hi-Tech Crime Unit, remaining there when it became a part of SOCA. 2006 saw Tony retire from the Police and take up his current position.
An engaging and entertaining speaker, Tony regularly presents to conferences, forums and meetings both in the UK and overseas. He frequently appears on television and radio and gives interviews to national newspapers and magazines.
About the research
On the 10 to 11 October 2013, Vision Critical conducted an online survey among 2,004 randomly selected British adults who are Springboard UK panelists. The margin of error--which measures sampling variability--is +/- 2.2%. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current age, gender and regional data to ensure samples representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.
 Figure is based on 13% of UK adult population losing GBP236 each
 Figure is based on 13% of UK adult population losing GBP236 each
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