UK internet users need to do more to get safe online

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UK internet users need to do more to get safe online

Warwick Ashford

Many UK internet users are taking unnecessary fraud risks by not taking basic security precautions, according to an online security report published today.

The report from joint government and business online security awareness initiative, Get Safe Online (GSO), said 15% of internet users still do not use anti-virus software.

A survey of 1,436 adult internet users in the UK showed 48% of those using anti-virus software do not use automatic updating facilities to ensure it remains effective.

Almost a quarter (23%) surveyed said they do not have any anti-spyware protection and nearly half (47%) do not have website authentication software to protect from phishing attacks.

Until these gaps are closed, the door is still wide open for criminals, said Garreth Griffith, head of UK risk management at Paypal, a GSO sponsor.

For many internet users, the basic checks are still missing he said at the launch of the GSO report and new-look website in London today to coincide with the start of Get Safe Online week.

The organisation estimates that the average UK internet user risks losing up to £14,500 per fraud attempt.

Once criminals have gained access to personal details, they are able to empty bank accounts and use credit card limits very quickly, GSO said.

The aim of Get Safe Online Week, however, is to give everyone the tools they need to use the internet safely, said Tony Neate, managing director of GSO.

"We are actively encouraging people to go online, but in doing so, to ensure that they are safe and secure," he said.

According to Neate, the risk of financial loss is negligible if they invest a relatively small amount of time and energy in ensuring they have basic protection in place and it is all up to date.


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