The way we see online crime has changed irrevocably over the last few years as it moves out of the shadows. These crimes, committed using a computer, hardware device or internet, by their very nature have had a reputation for being faceless and anonymous. Together with a misguided belief that victims were not ‘physically’ harmed, this previously led to a widespread feeling that cybercrimes were simply not as serious as crimes committed in the real world, such as theft or robbery. This is no longer the case.
As increasing numbers of us place more of our lives online and entrust IT with our most personal information, so too are opportunities mounting for us to be targeted by cyber criminals. Cybercrime is escalating and constantly changing in scope, resulting in greater awareness of its effects.
The British public’s response to cybercrime is changing. To determine how public opinion has shifted on this subject, Get Safe Online has commissioned in-depth research into cybercrime. We’ve spoken to victims and non-victims alike about their views to build up a comprehensive picture about this area of crime, in time for Get Safe Online Week. What is clear is that the prevalence and often traumatic effects of online crime has opened the UK public’s eyes like never before.
• Over half (51 per cent) of the UK population has been a victim of cybercrime
• Over half (53 per cent) of the UK population, regardless of whether they’ve been a victim themselves, now view online crimes as seriously as other ‘physical world’ crimes
• Half (50 per cent) of online crime victims felt either ‘very or extremely violated’ by the ordeals they suffered at the hands of cyber criminals.
We’ve spoken to victims of cybercrime who have told us not only about the amount of time wasted fixing the damage caused by a perpetrator, the money lost and effect on credit ratings, but also the emotional distress caused. We also see how victims increasingly want to unmask the person or persons behind their ordeal, further dispelling the myth that cybercrimes are ‘faceless’ crimes.
• Over half (54 per cent) of victims wanted to identify the perpetrator
• Only 14 per cent succeeded in identifying the perpetrator
We hope this research is an eye-opener and goes some way to further raising awareness of cybercrime as we go into Get Safe Online Week (20th-26th October).