More Brits banking and shopping online but many ignoring security

(Image credit: Future)

UK consumers are still worryingly lax when it comes to taking security precautions when they go online particularly regarding their personal finances.

New findings from McAfee have found an upward trend in online consumer activity during and post-lockdown, but also highlights Brits’ casual attitude to protecting themselves from cyber criminals, with a quarter saying they don’t feel confident about being able to fend off a cyber attack.

Increasing numbers have turned to the internet since COVID-19 arrived, with 79% of UK consumers now banking online and 53% using e-commerce outlets compared to 12 months ago.

Cyber criminals

However, the McAfee report shows that a proportion of British consumers are frequently overlooking the threat from cyber criminals. More than half (57%) reported they were worried about the risks, and 62% were most concerned about having their financial data compromised. A further 59% were worried about having personal information such as birth dates and addresses stolen.

But despite the concern, many of those surveyed for the report aren’t proactive when it comes to internet security. Sales of connected devices are booming, with 71% of UK consumers telling the survey they purchased at least one internet-enabled device in 2020. One in five bought at least three, often without any added on security software.

McAfee’s report also found that 46% of baby boomers were either starting or increasing their use of online banking, and 82% plan to keep things that way post-lockdown. The 55-74 age group were identified as being most aware of the threats from cyber criminals, with half ensuring that their device software is up to date.

Meanwhile, over half (53%) of 18-34-year olds were the group using online banking the most during the pandemic. Alarmingly, however, over a quarter (28%) reported they have never checked if the software on their devices is current with 56% not bothering to have any security solutions whatsoever.

In its report, McAfee underlined the need for consumers to be prudent, use multi-factor authentication, avoid connecting to sensitive data using public Wi-Fi and browse with added security enabled by employing identity theft protection software.

Rob Clymo

Rob Clymo has been a tech journalist for more years than he can actually remember, having started out in the wacky world of print magazines before discovering the power of the internet. Since he's been all-digital he has run the Innovation channel during a few years at Microsoft as well as turning out regular news, reviews, features and other content for the likes of TechRadar, TechRadar Pro, Tom's Guide, Fit&Well, Gizmodo, Shortlist, Automotive Interiors World, Automotive Testing Technology International, Future of Transportation and Electric & Hybrid Vehicle Technology International. In the rare moments he's not working he's usually out and about on one of numerous e-bikes in his collection.