Millions of Britons (1) have now fallen victim to an online scam, losing life savings, their identity, passwords, photos or vital personal data. Yet, despite contributing to the billions of pounds (2) lost annually to cybercrime in the UK, Britons still don’t take protective measures.
A quarter of the nation carry out activity online – from banking to dating – without any cybersecurity in place at all, making themselves attractive bait for online criminals to target.
The news comes as it’s revealed in a global study, including 1,000 UK adults, by F-Secure, a global leader in cyber security experiences, that Britons now spend an alarming THIRD of their day – eight hours – online, exposing themselves to the threat of online crime, phishing emails, fake payment websites and Authorised Push Payment (APP) frauds.
The ‘Living Secure’ report by F-Secure, also reveals that despite more than three-quarters of Britons (3) claiming they can spot a potential scam a mile away, we are still a worried bunch with 64% of the nation not knowing who to trust online. Two-thirds worry about personal safety online and 68% worrying about their families’ safety online, yet almost half (4) say they have no idea if their devices are secure.
This comes as 52% of respondents with children under 13 – the minimum age for using Tik Tok, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter – admit their kids use social media.
Timo Laaksonen, F-Secure CEO, says: “Our research has highlighted a clear disconnect between what we do online and how vulnerable we feel online, versus the concrete actions we take to reduce that vulnerability. Despite many Britons often feeling unsafe online they still aren’t putting adequate security measures in place. In the physical world you wouldn’t willingly give out passwords and personal data to strangers, so why go online and do it, and risk being a target for online criminals?.
“Sixty per cent of people said they found cybersecurity too complex. What is the use of all this great technology if people don’t use it? The spotlight is now on us; the cyber security industry needs to work a lot harder at simplifying cybersecurity for consumers – providing a security experience that people can understand and relate to.”
The study, which was commissioned to mark the launch of F-Secure Total, a simplified cybersecurity offering, found that nearly all our favourite pastimes, or ways to relax are now online, rather than physically in person.
Of the less obvious things we most love to do daily online, a third watch short videos on social media, a quarter play games and use it for sports and health tracking. Outside of work, studying, making calls, messaging and financial tasks, the full list of daily online activity is:
- Reading news (56%)
- Checking weather (52%)
- Consuming social media (49%)
- Watching short videos (31%)
- TV/movie streaming (30%
- Music streaming (27%)
- Playing games (25%)
- Sports tracking (13%)
- Health monitoring (13%)
- Maps and navigation (12%)
- Online shopping (11%)
- Listening to audio books/podcasts (10%)
- Reading eBooks (10%)
- Checking what children are doing online (10%)
- Creating social content (7%)
- Gambling (7%)
- Dating (6%)
Interestingly, dating, gambling and creating social content is when we feel most vulnerable with 41%, 35% and 27% of Britons saying they felt unsafe doing those tasks respectively.
When asked what we would most hate to lose if targeted by hackers or cyber criminals, 57% of Britons said photos. And one reason could be that more than a third (5) of UK adults have over 1000 photos on their phone. Of those, 10% have between 5,000 and 10,000 – yet a third (6) don’t back up their photos at all and 94% of those who admit they don’t back up their photos to a cloud or storage device said it’s because they simply can’t be bothered.
Laura Kankaala, F-Secure Threat Intelligence Lead, says: “Digital services are inseparable from our daily lives. The data we create from living profoundly digital lives helps explain why most people say that what’s on their phone is worth more than the phone itself. Our report found that when weighing up which they would rather have stolen, 58 per cent of Britons said they would prefer thieves swiped their car than nicked their identity.
“Meanwhile 42 per cent of UK adults even went so far as to admit they would rather shove their hands in a nest of vicious bullet ants than lose their personal data!”
(1) – 19% of 66,796,807 adult population = 12,691,393)
(2) – https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/news-and-insight/press-release/cross-sector-action-needed-criminal-gangs-steal-billions
(3) – 77%