Around 12% of Internet users in the UK have been the victims of online fraud, according to government-backed research. Arguably of greater concern however, the research goes on to report that fewer than half of the UK’s 29 million adult Internet users believe that they are responsible for protecting personal information on-line.
A new study has found that many UK Internet users do not take adequate security precautions.
The UK government sponsored Web site – www.getsafeonline.org has issued a press release stating that: Internet users who have experienced online fraud lost an average of GBP875 each over the past 12 months. This press release was in response to the Internet Safety: The State of the Nation research by the UK government, and the ‘Get Safe Online’ campaign.
The figures were broken down to show that during 2006, 6% of all Internet users (1.7 million people) had suffered fraud whilst shopping online, 5% experienced another form of general online fraud, and 4% had been subject to bank account or credit card fraud as a result of activity online.
While the above figures are unlikely to surprise the IT industry – online safety has long been known to be an issue – there will be concern over the revelation that fewer than half of the surveyed Internet users believe that they are personally responsible for their own on-line safety. Banks, credit card providers, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) were all cited by the survey respondents as the organizations that should be responsible for the prevention of online fraud and the protection of personal information.
The fact that there are so many people who believe that they are not responsible for their own online safety represents an uphill battle for online providers – how to convince their users that yes, they are (in general) responsible providers of services over the Internet, but that it is the customers themselves that also have a responsibility to ensure they are operating safely online. The importance of keeping anti-virus software up to date, controlling their online user identities and passwords (if indeed they do not have the same password for every online system), and even protecting their e-mail address, should be understood by Internet users.
To quote Mr Blair: Education, education, education is the way forward for the UK’s Internet population. The ‘Get Safe Online’ campaign will help, provided that the online service providers (banks, ISPs, etc.) and the vendors of Internet security solutions also deliver assistance for online users to get to grips with their responsibilities.
Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (www.butlergroup.com)