Don't let them infect your devices

Nine million accounts hacked in the UK

Over 9 million people in the UK have had online accounts hacked – and quite a few more than once. It’s a sobering figure and reveals just how wide scale and commonplace hacking has become.
It’s a staggering figure. Over 9 million people in the UK have had their online accounts hacked into – email, online banking, social media and gaming – in the past year. And out of this group 2.3 per cent have lost more than £10,000 as a result. These figures were revealed by the University of Kent in a sweeping cyber security survey that questioned people about their online lives and security. Given that the population of the UK stands at 63.7 million, 9 million is astonishingly large. 18.3 per cent of people questioned said they had experienced attempts to break into their online accounts, with a third saying it had happened more than once. Interestingly, respondents in the 55-64 age group were the least likely to be victims of cyber crime. This could be because they spend less time online or are more security conscious.

Cybercrimes in the UK: Account hackings and identity thefts

One of the report’s authors, Dr Erik Boiten, said: “Our results highlight that there is significant scope for the UK population and the online services they use to adopt stronger security practices.” Nine million is 14.1 per cent of the UK population. However, according to the Royal Geographical Society’s digital divide figures a third of households in the UK don’t have internet access, which pushes up the population percentage figure. Whichever way you cut it, the survey illustrates that hackers at least consider it worth their while trying to break into the accounts of individuals. The figures speak for themselves. While the number of people losing £10,000 or more as the result of cybercrime may be relatively small in terms of the larger population it is still extremely significant. And without a doubt these figures will grow; as online activities become more pervasive and ubiquitous so do criminal shadow activities.

Introducing BullGuard Identity Protection

BullGuard, however, can protect against this. BullGuard Identity Protection, for example, is a ground breaking product that requires no software downloads yet monitors the web for personal details that have been stolen and offered for sale – which is how large parts of the hacking underground work. A user simply enters the details they want to protect, such as credit/debit card numbers, bank account details or so on.  If these details then appear somewhere on the internet BullGuard picks them up, alerts the user by SMS and email, informs them about the details and where they were discovered. The person can then take protective action. Most identity theft protection products don’t do this – they tend to be reactive only, alerting the relevant parties after the damage has been done. It may be nine million people today who have had their online accounts hacked but you can bet your bottom dollar that if people don’t take computer security seriously in a few years the figure will be higher.

Written by Steve Bell

Steve has a background in IT and business journalism and has written extensively for both the UK national and trade press including The Guardian, Independent-on-Sunday, The Times, The Register, MicroScope and Computer Weekly. He's also worked for most of the world's largest IT companies producing content producing. He has a particular focus on IT security and has produced several magazines in this area.

More articles by Steve Bell

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