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09 October 2006, 16:11

Britons more afraid of internet criminality than burglary

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A current survey in Great Britain has found that people have grown more afraid of becoming the victim of internet criminality than of traditional crime. According to the report from Get Safe Online, a campaign founded last year by the British government and industry aimed at increased awareness of security for computers connected to the internet, 21 per cent said that their biggest fear was internet criminality. By contrast, only 16 per cent claimed that they feared burglary above all else. The most common answer (27 per cent) concerned fraudulent use of bank cards and credit cards, however.

The internet is used by more and more people for online banking and shopping. 23 percent of those questioned indicated that they already buy groceries over the web. At the same time, however, the risks associated with phishing and pharming, viruses, hacks and password theft are also rising. According to a test, conducted by the BBC News, an attack or other probe for security holes occurs every 12 to 15 minutes on average for PCs running the Windows operating system and connected to the internet.

Based on responses to the poll, this perceived threat has led 24 percent of respondents to cease using online banking; 18 percent will not shop on the web and 17 percent refuse to use the internet at all, given the risks associated with it. For Tony Neate, director of Get Safe Online, several problems do exist, but the campaign also involves an attempt to soothe peoples' fears as well: "Simple, easy precautions mean you can be really safe." In fact, too many internet users still clearly give no thought to security. Hence 23 per cent indicated that they had opened email attachments from unknown senders, while 17 per cent use no antivirus software and 22 per cent have no firewall.


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