The joint Internet safety initiative Get Safe Online claims that 51% of Britons have experienced online crime, of which half said they felt “very or extremely violated” by the experience.
Some 54% of participants in the study, conducted by Vision Critical which polled 2000 people, said they wanted “cyber crooks” behind these crimes to be unmasked – but only 14% successfully managed to do so.
As a result of the research, Get Safe Online Week 2014 has been launched with the theme “don’t be a victim.”
Separate figures prepared by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) claim that £670m was lost nationwide to the top ten Internet-enabled frauds reported between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2014.
However, the organisation claims not all Internet fraud cases are reported and the amount of money lost to scams is likely to be much higher.
“Our research shows just how serious a toll cybercrime can take – both on the wallet and on well-being and this has been no more apparent than in the last few weeks with various large-scale personal photo hacks of celebrities and the general public. Unfortunately, this is becoming more common now that we live more of our lives online,” claimed Get Safe Online chief executive Tony Neate.
“Get Safe Online Week this year is all about ‘don’t be a victim’ and we can all take simple steps to protect ourselves, including putting a password on your computer or mobile device, never clicking on a link sent by a stranger, using strong passwords and always logging off from an account or website when you’re finished.
“The more the public do this, and together with better conviction rates, the more criminals won’t be able to hide behind a cloak of anonymity,” he added.
The organisation’s research also revealed that UK citizens now see online crimes as seriously as “physical world crimes” according to 53% of participants.
Of the half that reported experiencing cybercrime, just 32% said they actually reported it and nearly half (47%) said they just didn’t know who to report the incident too.
“The UK cyber market is worth £80bn a year and rising. The Internet is undoubtedly a force for good but we cannot stand still in the face of these threats, which already cost our economy billions every year,” claimed Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude.
“As part of this government’s long-term economic plan, we want to make the UK one of the most secure places to do business in cyberspace.
“We have a £860m Cyber Security Programme which supports law enforcement’s response to cybercrime and we are working with the private sector to help all businesses protect vital information assets.
“Our Get Safe Online and Cyber Streetwise campaigns provide easy to understand information for the public on how and why they should protect themselves.
“Cyber security is not an issue for government alone – we must all take action to defend ourselves against threats,” he added.