UK consumers worth £14k each to cyber criminals

Brits are prize catch for phishers

Brits are prize catch for phishers

Each adult in the UK is worth about £14,500 to internet criminals according to the UK's online security guardians.

The value of the average UK person's salary and credit card details to online fraudsters was revealed in the 2008 report by the secure computing initiative Get Safe Online (GSO), whose members include HSBC, Microsoft and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

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A quarter of the 1,400 people surveyed said they knew someone who had revealed details to fraudsters following a phishing email - up from about eight per cent in 2007.

Nick Staib, director of GetSafeOnline.org and senior manager at HSBC, warned of the long term implications of falling victim to internet crime.

He said in a statement: "If your financial reputation has been compromised through identity theft, this could have an impact on your ability to obtain credit or borrow money in the future.

"Even with an explanatory note on your credit record, you may be viewed as 'high risk'."

A fifth of small UK businesses have been a victim of an internet scam and one third of companies have been infected by a virus, a separate GSO survey of about 1,000 businesses with fewer than 10 employees also found.

It said that an average of £1,540 is lost due to downtime during IT failure.

It echoes a recent report by the Corporate IT Forum that found 65 per cent of UK businesses had seen a rise in cyber attacks such as distributed denial of service assaults or malware infections.

The GSO report coincides with the start of Get Safe Online Week, a GSO drive to promote online security that began today.