Tour bus delivering internet safety tips

Over half of people in Edinburgh are victims of online crime yet remain blasé about online safety according to a new survey.

51 % of people have been targeted by online criminals

31% don't know if they're being safe online

Average loss per online attack is £175 per person

Over half of people in the capital (51%) have been targeted by online criminals with a successful attack costing, on average, £175 per person.

A survey of 250 consumers in Edinburgh , by not-for-profit organisation getsafeonline.org, today (24 October) reveals these online attacks are leaving people red-faced, with 13% of us admitting we are too embarrassed to tell anyone or share our experience with others.

To combat this the Get Safe Online tour bus is coming to the Capital tomorrow (Thursday 25 October) for people that want to find out more about being safe online. It will be at Waverley Train Station, St James Shopping Centre as well as Sir John Cass Foundation and local schools and colleges in the area.

Councillor Cammy Day, Community Safety leader for the City of Edinburgh Council , said: "Online crime can have a devastating effect on people and this initiative is a great way of keeping the public safe when it comes to using the internet. It's an excellent opportunity to raise awareness of the issue and I would encourage people to visit the Get Safe Online tour bus when it comes to the capital to find out more about how to prevent themselves becoming victims of cyber crime."

The survey results which reveal many people don't know as much as they should about online safety may explain why almost a third (31%) claim to having no idea whether they are putting ourselves at risk and a further 42% admit they really needed to know more about being safe online.

The survey showed that 16% have lost money as a result of cyber criminals. But online security breaches cause a huge inconvenience to daily life: a quarter (25%) of respondents cited wasting a considerable amount of time trying to fix the problem, almost half (41%) of people have had to change all of their passwords and over one in ten (12%) had to replace their bank cards.

Top five most common consequences of an attack:

  • Having to change all of your online passwords (41%)
  • Wasting valuable time trying to fix the problem (39%)
  • Left feeling red faced (13%)
  • Losing money (12%)
  • Replacing bank or credit cards (12%)

According to the survey the top five most common threats in the Edinburgh are:

  • Viruses (19%) - a file that is written with the sole intention of doing harm, or for criminal activity on your smartphone, computer, tablet or laptop - is the most common type of threat
  • Email hackers (15%) - one in six people in Edinburgh have had their email accounts targeted by hackers
  • Social media hackers (12%) - more than one in 10 people in Edinburgh has had a social media account (like Facebook) targeted by hackers
  • Fraudulent selling (11%) - over one in ten people have bought something online that never arrived
  • Online credit card fraud (8%) - nearly one in ten people have had their bank or credit card details stolen online

In spite of the number of attacks in Edinburgh , the survey uncovered that it hasn't changed people's behaviour. Of those who experienced an attack, 76%, 87% and 85% of people respectively continued to use their laptops, tablets, and smartphones in the same way.

Likewise, despite more than one in ten of people in Edinburgh having their social media accounts hacked, only half of respondents (56%) use the highest levels of security on the social networking site Facebook and almost one in 10 (9%) aren't even aware that they can change their security settings.

Detective Chief Inspector Gerry McBride, Head of the E-crime Unit for the Scottish Crime and Drug Enforcement Agency said: "While technology has generated endless benefits it has also come at a price by presenting increased opportunities for those who wish to exploit technology to engage in criminal activity.  There are individuals and networks that will take advantage of this sometimes uninhibited environment and use it inappropriately, placing others at risk of harm.

"People need to be aware of the risks and ensure they are protected against these dangers by learning how to use the internet safely and Get Safe Online week is a great opportunity for members of the public to pick up some useful tips."

Gary Ritchie, Assistant Director at Scottish Business Crime Centre (SBCC), said: "The amount we can do on the internet now is astounding. I don't know many people who don't use the net everyday whether it's for personal or professional reasons but unfortunately there are those intent in ruining this experience for us all. 

"Protecting yourself involves taking just a few simple steps but if not done correctly can result in serious consequences caused by cyber criminals. Get Safe Online week is a fantastic campaign for raising awareness especially with it taking a collective approach by encouraging everyone to take part with the Click and Tell message.

"Often headlines on online crime can appear daunting but the Get Safe Online team are making a strong push by highlighting how everyone can do something to help protect each other, whether it be with friends, neighbours or work colleagues.

"This is the first time this campaign has been done on this scale so I hope it will generate some real interest and support to make us all more aware of what we can do to help stop cyber criminals in their tracks."

Tony Neate, CEO, getsafeonline.org said: "As the survey has shown, online crime can be a threat to each and every one of us. But don't forget, the internet is a brilliant place that allows us to do great things, so people shouldn't feel like they can't enjoy all of its benefits. Staying safe can be really simple and, when I look at the top five online threats, I'm encouraged that it only takes a few small changes in behaviour to make the internet a safe place.

"We conducted this survey to highlight the need for more awareness about staying safe online and it has done just that. As a result, from the 22nd - 26th October, getsafeonline.org we will be visiting cities across the UK to spread the word about being secure whilst online. And, it's not just us that can drive change. People shouldn't be embarrassed about experiencing an attack or needing to know more which is why we're encouraging people to 'Click & Tell' - go on to the Get Safe Online website, pick up an online safety tip and pass them on to friends, family, colleagues, neighbours or even strangers who may benefit from the advice."

About Get Safe Online and Get Safe Online Week

Get Safe Online (www.getsafeonline.org), which is now entering its seventh year, is the UK 's national internet security awareness initiative. A joint partnership between the Government, the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), Ofcom and private sector sponsors from the worlds of technology, communication, retail and finance, the initiative continues to educate, inform and raise awareness of internet security issues to encourage confident, safe use of the internet. GetSafeOnline.org is supported by the Cabinet Office, Department for Business, Innovation & Skills (BIS), Home Office, Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), National Fraud Authority & Action Fraud, Ofcom, HSBC, Microsoft, Cable & Wireless Worldwide, Gumtree, Trend Micro, Symantec and PayPal.

About One Poll

The survey of 250 adults in Edinburgh was conducted by market researchers OnePoll.com in October 2012.


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