A new report by Get Safe Online claimed that 51 per cent of Britons have fallen victim to cyber crimes. Get Safe Online, is an initiative set up by a collaboration of Governmental departments and private businesses. The new report was revealed as part of 'Get Safe Online Week'. The aim of the initiative is to raise awareness and provide useful information to the UK population about the dangers of cyber crime and what they can do to guard against becoming victims. Click the below banner to check out Get Safe Online's info-graphic of the report
A vital cause indeed. As more and more of our lives take place in an online space, people need to be better informed than ever to avoid becoming a casualty of cyber crime. However, the report's headline grabbing figure - that 51 per cent of Britons have been subjected to cyber crimes - is just that, headline grabbing. What constituted a cyber crime included: internet based fraud, ID theft, hacking and online abuse. By no means am I trying to suggest that cyber crime is not a large or serious problem, but wrapping up all those categories into one statistic seems a bit misleading, especially when I cannot find anywhere in Get Safe Online's article that breaks down those categories further.
How much of that 51 per cent is made up of people who have suffered from online abuse? Does a troll on twitter count as online abuse? It's unclear to me what would count or not. In numbers like these I think we need to differentiate between crimes and unpleasant behavior. It's not as if the financial numbers are not scary enough. Figures included in the report from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau estimated that £670 million was lost nationwide to the top ten internet-enabled frauds reported between 1st September 2013 and 31st August 2014.
"We want to keep things simple, fast and secure. Maximum Security: Minimum Fuss"
And to me - the other real eye-opening number in the report is not the compound crime stat, but the fact that more than half of mobile users and a third of laptop owners do not have a password or PIN number protecting their device. It's even worse on tablets, where the figure rises to 67 per cent. I really find this surprising. Just anecdotally in my life I do not know anyone who doesn’t use a PIN or something similar on their phone - but then again, I do work for a tech company with security at its heart.
Security online is a constant battle we need to fight. Half that battle does come from educating the public. And those of us in the industry can perhaps lose perspective of the levels of technological familiarity in the general public. So the work of the Get Safe Online initiative is undoubtedly important. The other side of the battle is providing solutions and systems that can make people's interactions online more secure. We believe our solution Ensygnia Onescan does that. We bring higher levels of security, but wrapped up in a simple and easy user experience. We get rid of vulnerable usernames and passwords and we deploy encryption and tokenization to keep all your transactions and interactions safe.
We believe that increased security should not mean increased complexity. We want to keep things simple, fast and secure. Maximum Security: Minimum Fuss. That's our starting point and we plan to do our bit to make sure everyone can "Get Safe Online."
By Matthew Taylor
22nd October 2014