Almost one in five people (18.4%) in the UK have had their online accounts hacked, with some people (2.3%) losing more than £10,000 due to criminal activity.
This is one of the main findings of a Survey on Cyber Security by members of the University of Kent's Interdisciplinary Research Centre for Cyber Security.
Other findings include the revelation that over 6% of people have had their accounts compromised on more than one occasion and that survey respondents aged 55-64 were the least likely age group to be successfully targeted by online crime, with some 90% confirming that they had not been victims of security breaches to their online accounts. This, according to the researchers, could be attributed to this age group spending less time online, having fewer activities and accounts or, more generally, being more cautious and security aware when online.
The Survey, which set out to explore the extent to which Britons have been affected by cybercrime, also revealed that despite the majority of respondents not being significantly affected by online crime, those who had been suffered considerable losses.
Dr Julio Hernandez-Castro, from the Centre for Cyber Security, said: 'These up-to-date survey results on how cybercrime is affecting British citizens will undermine some misconceptions and make it easier to understand where to best focus our research efforts for designing new solutions to combat cybercrime.'
Dr Eerke Boiten, Director of the Centre, commented: 'Our results highlight that there is significant scope for the UK population and the online services they use to adopt stronger security practices. Cybercrime may not yet have hit a large proportion of the British public, but successful attacks do tend to lead to substantive financial damage.'
This is the first Survey of its kind to be conducted by the University's Centre for Cyber Security, of what will become a periodic survey. It was led by Dr Hernandez-Castro and Dr Boiten.
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