ABINGDON, England, December 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --
Research from Kaspersky Lab reveals half of online adults believe cybercriminals can break into any device they choose - and most consumers are content to leave security to Internet sites and device manufacturers
Adults across the UK are increasingly fatalistic about their level of online risk, according to a new study by YouGov plc for Kaspersky Lab. As a result, consumers are exposing themselves to a high risk of online identity theft which could result not only in financial loss, but also in the headache which surrounds the repercussions. Half the online adults surveyed believe cybercriminals can hack into any computer, laptop, smartphone or tablet they set their sights on; a perception likely to be influenced by film images of experts hacking easily into even the most secure-looking, password-protected and sophisticated computers and smartphones.
Only a minority of the 2,008 online adults surveyed have bothered to install any additional Internet security software which can protect consumers whilst banking online. Instead, 80 per cent of those who bank online rely mainly or solely on the bank's own pre-installed security systems and just 45 per cent have added their own security. Over a third (39 per cent) of respondents say they have confidence in the bank's security systems; a figure that could also reflect a general impression that the bank will cover the cost of any financial losses incurred fraudulently. Yet consumers are not taking into consideration the emotional effects and the time and effort they will need to spend recovering the online theft.Ramandeep Sahota, a 24-year-old from Reading, was unlucky enough to experience a cybercriminal attack when her personal details were exposed whilst shopping online without sufficient Internet protection. She explains: "Somehow I managed to disclose my online banking information to the wrong people - cybercriminals. Over a period of a few weeks, the online fraudsters took a series of very small payments directly from my bank account - varying in amounts from £1 to £35. This stealthy method of theft meant that I didn't notice all the money was leaving my account until nearly £200 had been taken. At this point I contacted my bank to alert them to the fact I was experiencing theft. Although the money was recovered eventually by my bank, it took over five months to resolve and I had to spend hours on the phone to the bank trying to prove that the payments were made fraudulently. Online theft definitely isn't something I'll take lightly again." "The research findings suggest that when it comes to online information or identity theft a growing number of consumers are convinced there is little they can do to prevent a determined hacker from succeeding," said David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. "Today we are bombarded with glamorous images in TV dramas and the latest blockbusters of people breaking easily into hard drives and phones and getting their hands on someone's entire digital life. Coupled with growing consumer confusion about the whole cyber risk landscape - an online search of the term 'cyber-threat' today returns nearly 11 million results - it is not surprising that people are feeling overwhelmed and opting for inaction. However, the risks of such inaction should not be underestimated. We have seen how financially and emotionally devastating cybercrime can be, and work hard to help consumers address the risks they can see and the ones they can't." Simple measures can be taken to minimise the risk involved in everyday online activities, all of which drastically reduce the threat of becoming cybercrime's next victim. Emm suggests the below top tips for staying safe online:
- Use an effective Internet security product.
- Keep your operating system up-to-date.
- Keep all applications up-to-date.
- Use a secure browser.
- Practise safe computing, e.g. use unique passwords for all online accounts - at least eight characters and a mixture of letters, numbers and symbols.
- Don't "jailbreak" or root your mobile device.
- Don't install apps from untrusted sources.
- Don't use untrusted wi-fi networks for confidential transactions.
- Don't just rely on a simple PIN for your mobile device.
- Secure any confidential data on your computer or mobile device.