Facebook warning as half of Britons are victims of cyber crime

More than half of Britons have fallen victim to cyber crime (Image: Fotolia)

Half of Britons have been victims of cyber crime, according to a survey by non-profit cyber-security organization Get Safe Online.

Social networks such as Facebook pose an increasing risk, with one in ten attacks now occurring via the network.

Of the 3,000 consumers surveyed, 56% said they had been victims of cyber crime.

On average, people lose £247 per attack – but one in five people are too embarrassed to admit they have been victims.

Falling victim to cybercrime is seen as evidence of ignorance, so 17% of people don’t tell friends after they fall victim to an attack.

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Nearly a third – 29% - don’t know if they’re safe online.

Spam emails and viruses remain the two most common attacks, but one in ten Britons have fallen victim to attacks spread via Facebook.

According to cyber security companies such as Norton, Facebook is a growing source of attacks. ‘Mean girls always pick on the popular kids,’ says Kevin Haley, Norton’s Director of Security Response. ‘Facebook is popular - why wouldn’t the bad guys follow them?’

Despite a fifth of people having their social media accounts hacked, only half of respondents (50%) use the highest levels of security on the social networking site Facebook and one in 10 (11%) aren’t even aware that you can change your security settings.

Tony Neate, CEO, getsafeonline.org said:  “As the survey has shown, online crime can be a threat to each and every one of us in the UK.

“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.”