Safer Internet Day: UK users need to up Internet security protection

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A high number of British consumers are still unaware of the potential security risks they are open to by failing to protect their online privacy.

A survey by McAfee timed to coincide with Safer Internet Day found that although Brits often conform to web security protection at work, at home and during personal surfing the outcome is far different.

The security firm found that over a quarter (27 percent) of parents never monitor what their children are doing online, and one in five (21 percent) said they wouldn't be worried about their children potentially speaking to a social predator or cybercriminal online.

Safer Internet

Elsewhere, the survey found over a third (39 percent) of Brits say they are unable to tell if a website is real or fake and half of Brits said they would purchase from an online retailer, even if they were not fully confident it was genuine or secure, if the price was cheaper than a trusted retailer 

This lack of awareness is costing some UK consumers dearly, as McAfee found 45 percent of Brits have been, or know someone who has been hacked and lost money as a result, with an average of £725.00 per person lost to scammers across the UK.

McAfee has urged its users to "think before you click" when surfing online, and ensuring all devices and software is updated to the latest version - including often-neglected mobile security protection. Users should also beware shady public Wi-Fi hotspots, and stick to official app stores for their download needs.

“People need to wake up to the real threats they currently face be it due to their online activity or someone else's," said Raj Samani, chief scientist and McAfee fellow. 

"Every day businesses are caught up in breaches or hacks and its naïve to continue to think that a criminal has not accessed your private information or data as a result. 

"It is everyone’s responsibility to educate each other – we need to share knowledge and collaborate to protect ourselves against the current threats we face as people living in a connected world. The outcomes are set to worsen, as criminals become more sophisticated and target every aspect of our lives from the connected home, to our children’s toys, right through to our medical records and fitness trackers. Therefore, we all need to take action before it is too late.”