Take cyber security as seriously as home security, says Government

February 22nd 2017

– 82% of households have double locks or deadlocks and 89% have window locks*, but only 32% of Britons are following the Government’s latest password advice**

– New Government Cyber Aware vox pop film highlights the real impact that cyber crime can have on victims’ lives:

Britons are not applying the same level of security online as offline despite the increased risk, according to new statistics out today from Government cyber security campaign, Cyber Aware.

While 82% of households have double locks or deadlocks and 89% have window locks*, when it comes to online security, only 32% follow the latest government advice to use three random words to create a strong password and on average only 52% regularly download the latest software or app updates as soon as they are available.**

Latest figures from ONS show that cybercrime was one of the most common offences committed in 2016, with an estimated 2 million incidents, compared to 686,000 domestic burglary offences.***

The latest statistics point to a clear gap between intention and action when it comes to people protecting themselves from cybercrime, with few taking the basic precautions despite 77% of Britons agreeing ‘It’s up to me to make sure I keep secure when I’m online’.**

According to the new National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), a part of GCHQ, using three random words to create a strong password and always downloading the latest software or app updates, are the best ways for people to protect themselves.   

A weak password can allow hackers to use victims’ email to gain access to many of their personal accounts, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft and fraud. Meanwhile, software or app updates contain vital security upgrades which protect devices from viruses and hackers. The most common reason respondents across the UK gave for not downloading the latest software updates (19%) was that it ‘takes too long’. In reality, it only takes a few minutes, compared to the time it can take to recover from a cyber hack.

Security Minister, Ben Wallace said: “The latest crime statistics from the Office for National Statistics clearly demonstrate how crime is changing and the way in which criminals are targeting people online. This Government is already acting to tackle the perpetrators, taking world-leading action to stamp out cyber crime, investing £1.9 billion in cyber security.

Mr Wallace added: "But it is also important that we continue to encourage members of the public to take simple steps to protect themselves from cyber criminals, just as they would take precautions to secure their home.”

Detective Inspector Danny Lawrence, National Police Chiefs’ Council PROTECT Co-ordinator for Cybercrime, said:  

“We know that people are pretty good at being vigilant when it comes to home security – there are very few people who would leave a door or window unlocked when they went out, for example – but we’re not applying the same basic principles to protecting ourselves online. It can be quick and simple – and it works. It’s time we stopped underestimating the reach and impact of cybercrime. It is a real and growing threat that can affect anyone, not just celebrities or big business.”

Neil Masters, National Lead for Fraud and Economic Cybercrime at independent charity Victim Support, said: “Cybercrime is not just about financial loss for victims, it can affect people in a variety of ways. In cases of identity fraud, a ripple effect is often triggered, leaving some people struggling with psychological and physical health issues. Regaining control and undoing the damage that may have been done can be a lengthy and frustrating task for victims. We offered support to 40,000 victims of fraud and cyber crime last year. We know that victims often feel betrayed, powerless and anxious as a result of what has happened to them."

He added: "No-one should feel alone in this, Victim Support offers free and confidential help to anyone affected by crime, no matter how long ago it took place.”

 To help bring the impact of cyber crime to life, Cyber Aware is launching a new film showing victims of cyber crime talking about  the effect it has had on their lives:

Alison Marriott, a victim of hacking, said: “The whole experience was very distressing. emails were being sent from my account to my contacts which I had no control over. It caused a great deal of embarrassment as there were lots of phone calls to be made to explain the situation and having to tell people your email has been hacked makes you feel stupid. It was also very inconvenient and took days to sort out – I didn’t realise quite how many passwords I had until I had to change them all!”

The video, which was filmed in Manchester, includes victims of cybercrime talking about the impact it has had on their lives.

The Cyber Aware campaign (formerly Cyber Streetwise) is funded by the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP) and was launched in 2014, with the objective of providing individuals and small businesses with the knowledge to take control of their cyber security and help protect themselves from cyber criminals.

Cybercrime is a serious threat to the UK, and the Government is taking action to increase public awareness of the risk. The Government will invest £1.9 billion to significantly transform the UK’s cyber security. NCSP will support the aims of the 2016 National Cyber Security Strategy over the next five years and reflects the importance the Government places on robust cyber security for the UK. The NCSC will actively protect the UK from a range of cyber threats and will coordinate responses to cyber security incidents.

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* The Crime Survey for England and Wales recorded that in the year to March 2016 82% of households have double locks or deadlocks and 89% have window locks on at least some windows and doors.

** An online study was conducted with members of Ipsos MORI’s online panel. The study was based on 4,002 individuals from the Ipsos MORI online panel and took place between 26 October and 14 November 2016.  Data were weighted by region, age, gender and social grade according to the national online profile. Software update figures are based on the mean proportion who state that they ‘always’ or ‘often’ download the latest software updates from both laptops or desktops and tablets or mobile phones.

*** The Crime Survey for England and Wales shows there were an estimated 2 million cybercrime offences against individuals and 686,000 domestic burglary offences committed in the year to September 2016. Cybercrime includes all computer misuse offences, such as hacking and viruses. However, these are experimental statistics based on interviews with a half-sample of respondents conducted between October 2015 and September 2016.

By Get Safe Online

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