One in five UK citizens have had online accounts hacked

Youngest computer-users also reported higher levels of hacking

Approximately 1 in 5 UK citizens have had their online accounts hacked including “email, social network, banking, and online gaming”. A new survey by the University of Kent’s Cyber Security centre found that 18.3 per cent of respondents had suffered from this sort of cybercrime.

The survey also found that individuals in the 55-64 age bracket were least likely to have had an online account hacked, though researchers note that this can be interpreted in various ways: “either they are more cautious online, or spend less time, have fewer activities and accounts, or perhaps keep an overall better security.”

18-24-year-olds were most likely to have had accounts breached with more than a quarter (27.3 per cent) of respondents reporting that their accounts had been hacked. As with the low-rate of breaches in the older age range this can be seen in different lights, though perhaps reflects a casual approach to online security stemming from familiarity with technology.

It was also found that financial losses in these hacks were minimal, with 83.1 per cent reporting loosing no money “due to online or computer-based fraud in the last 2 years”. A small but significant proportion (11.6 per cent) lost more than £65, averaging to an approximate £1.50 loss per citizen over two years.

When the question was expanded to include money lost “due to any kind of computer criminal activity” 92 per cent of individuals reported losing no money at all, suggesting perhaps confusion over the differences between “computer-based fraud” and “computer criminal activity”. A small percentage of respondents (2.3 per cent) even reported losing “more than £10,000” through fraud.

The researchers concluded that “online crime has a clear impact on the lives of average UK citizens, with their accounts and credentials being compromised significantly and in some cases multiple times.”

“This and other incidents online translate into financial losses that, despite not affecting large numbers of people, have quite a large impact on the few (around 3% of the population) that are very badly hit.”

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