Government research reveals true cost of cyber crime

A survey conducted on behalf of Get Safe Online (a jointly funded initiative between several government departments and private security businesses) to coincide with Get Safe Online Week has found that 51% of those surveyed experienced online crime, of whom only 32% reported the crime. 47% of victims did not even know who to report an online crime to.

Separate figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) estimate that Internet-enabled fraud costs the country over £670 million each year, but as so few crimes are reported, the true economic cost of cyber crime is likely to be much higher.

Some other statistics:

  • 50% of cyber crime victims felt ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ violated by their ordeal.
  • 53% of the population consider online crimes to be as serious as ‘physical world’ crimes.
  • 45% are opting for stronger passwords and 42% are extra vigilant when shopping online.
  • 37% always log out of accounts when they go offline and 18% have changed their security settings on their social media accounts.

Tony Neate, the chief executive of Get Safe Online, commented: “Our research shows just how serious a toll cybercrime can take – both on the wallet and on well-being, and this has been no more apparent than in the last few weeks with various large-scale personal photo hacks of celebrities and the general public. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common now that we live more of our lives online.”

He continued: “Get Safe Online Week this year is all about ‘Don’t be a victim’ and we can all take simple steps to protect ourselves, including putting a password on your computer or mobile device, never clicking on a link sent by a stranger, using strong passwords and always logging off from an account or website when you’re finished. The more the public do this, and together with better conviction rates, the more criminals won’t be able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity.”

Tips for online safety

Get Safe Online offers some basic tips for online safety:

  1. Put a PIN on your device. (54% of mobile phone users, 37% of laptop owners, 59% of PC users and 67% of tablet owners do not have a password or PIN for their device.)
  2. Look for the padlock symbol on your web browser when you shop online and make sure the URL begins with https://.
  3. Secure your Wi-Fi with a password and never use unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots.
  4. Always log out of your accounts when you’ve finished with them and log off your computer when you’ve finished with it.
  5. If you’re a victim of online fraud, report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 20 40 or by visiting actionfraud.police.uk

Get Safe Online Week is an awareness-raising initiative running from 20 to 26 October, but good information security is a year-round necessity.

For more information on cyber security, download our free green papers or take a look at our gallery of ‘Keep Safe Online’ images.

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