8 August 2006
British citizens are fighting back against the threat of viruses and spyware channelled through the internet according to a new survey from the British Computer Society (BCS).
Almost two in three adults now have access to a computer at home and over 90% of home internet users currently take active measures to protect themselves from security threats. Equally, 92% of online shoppers also take active precautions to protect themselves against fraud.
The survey, undertaken to measure the nation's online security practice, also demonstrates growing public confidence in the safety of the internet. Online shoppers now spend an average of £164 per month online, 52% make use of secure payment areas on websites and 51% only shop on well known retailer sites in order to ensure safe transactions.
The number of home internet users in Britain who have purchased online has also increased by over 2 million people in the past year; up from approximately 15.2 to 17.4 million.
BCS chief executive David Clarke attributes the upsurge in public confidence in the internet to a growing recognition of safe surfing and utilizing available tools to protect against threats.
"The fact that the British public are ensuring that their computers are protected from the potential pitfalls of the internet is very encouraging. Installing antivirus software and a firewall is vital; likewise using a dedicated payment service, or secure payment area of a website when purchasing online.
Without taking these precautions, users can run into many problems including losing files or releasing personal banking information with the serious risk of being defrauded or having their ID cloned."
Key findings of the survey include:
BCS has recently launched a new service containing advice for IT professionals, security professionals and the public on current security issues. The BCS security pages of its website also provide comment and analysis of common problems that can arise when security is breached and show what is being done to tackle high-tech crime.
The up to the minute security site can be found at www.bcs.org/security.
The survey was commissioned by BCS and conducted by TNS, one of the world's leading market information companies. A representative sample of 2,133 British adults were interviewed face-to-face during the period 7th - 11th July 2006.