Home truths: cyber threats hugely underestimated by over a third of Brits


Significantly more Brits (60 per cent) believe they are more likely to fall victim to a physical home break-in than those fearing a digital crime (37 per cent), according to new research from BT.

Young people now equally as likely to fall victim to digital crimes as physical crimes

But 60 per cent of Brits wrongly think their home is more vulnerable to a physical break-in

Significantly more Brits (60 per cent) believe they are more likely to fall victim to a physical home break-in than those fearing a digital crime (37 per cent), according to new research from BT. This is despite the fact that, on average, people aged 16-44 years are now almost as likely to suffer a digital crime (15 per cent) as a home break-in (17 per cent).

The research has revealed that just over a third of Brits (34 per cent) do not consider poor digital security as being a risk to their home.

And despite calls for greater awareness of cybercrime, only 10 per cent of people think their Wi-Fi or smartphones could be the most likely source of a crime, compared to 51 per cent who believe their front doors, windows or back door are more likely to be targeted.

Worryingly, UK citizens are failing to take advantage of the free security solutions made available to them by their phone and broadband providers.

Only a third of parents and guardians (36 per cent) take advantage of parental control technology to manage web access. This is despite the fact that almost half (49 per cent) of parents are concerned about their children falling victim to cybercrime and 39 per cent admitting that their child has accidentally seen inappropriate content online.

The research highlights worrying security gaps amongst ‘tech savvy’ younger generations. Password protection is the biggest issue for 16-24 year olds, with 40 per cent admitting that they use the same password on all devices. Amongst respondents aged 25-34 years – the age-group most likely to be first-time buyers – almost a quarter (24 per cent) admit they’re not confident about the digital security of their homes.

Mark Hughes, CEO, BT Security, said: “People must ensure that they are protecting themselves and their family from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats such as phishing emails, malware, and inappropriate web content.”

“Customer protection is a top priority for BT. We are continually developing our security portfolio to ensure our customers have best-in-class, built-in internet security across all web-connected devices, through solutions such as BT Web Protect, BT Virus Protect and BT Parental Controls.”

Commander Chris Greany, City of London Police and National Co-ordinator for Economic Crime said: “The Crime Survey of England and Wales showed that people are much more likely to be a victim of digital crimes in the UK, with almost half of all crime now either fraud or cybercrime. Just as people protect their home from burglary so they also need to protect their digital presence. Many broadband and telephone providers now offer free security solutions and we strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of these, to ensure they are protected against the less visible dangers online and over the phone.”

Alex Dewdney, NCSC Director for Engagement, said: “New research from BT suggests a mismatch between ‘awareness’ and ‘action’ when it comes to cyber security. People say they see the effects, but are finding it hard to take the steps needed to avoid on-line fraud. Most people say they are as confident in their home’s digital security as they are its physical security. In reality we think more support is needed to help people understand how they can stay safe on-line. The government’s new National Cyber Security Centre is working with BT and other key partners to meet this challenge and find ways of enhancing cyber security for all.”

Nick Viney, VP EMEA Consumer, Intel Security, said: “The reality is that digital crimes are thriving. Recent research from Intel Security showed that stolen credit and debit card data can be bought and sold for between £13 and £23 in the UK alone. Cyber criminals are becoming increasingly clever and it’s important that we stay one step ahead of the cyber criminals - caution is the best way forward here.”


Notes to editors

BT Security Portfolio

BT’s broadband is safer as standard and provides all customers with a free portfolio of top-of-the-range security solutions to ensure that the modern home has the cyber protection it needs, including:

  • BT Virus Protect: BT Virus Protect is our latest and most complete anti-virus software to protect PCs, Macs, and Android phones and tablets from all the latest threats including viruses, phishing and other malware. It also now comes as an app for Android devices, with anti-theft features, the ability to block unwanted calls to mobiles, and CaptureCam to remotely take a snapshot of anyone holding your lost device. All backed by McAfee’s award-winning Global Threat Intelligence Network, BT Virus Protect scans for malicious code in apps, SD cards, files and online to safeguard customers’ personal and confidential information.
  • BT Web Protect: BT Web Protect helps keep BT customers safe from viruses, phishing and other security threats online. It works by warning or blocking customers from known malware and phishing sites, for all devices connected to the BT Hub and through BT Wi-Fi connections out and about. No downloads needed as it works at a network level – simply click to activate.
  • BT Parental Controls: If you have children BT knows that being able to browse the web safely is important. With free BT Parental Controls, we help to keep children safe online. This network-based filter protects all internet-enabled devices that are connected via the BT Hub in the home and through BT Wi-Fi connections out and about.
  • True Key:All BT broadband customers get True Key from Intel Security free with their broadband package. With True Key you can generate strong and unique passwords and store them for a hassle free way of signing into devices, apps and websites.

For more information on all these products visit www.bt.com/virus-protect

Consumer research

2,214 adults from England, Scotland and Wales participated in the study. The survey was drafted by BT and the data was outsourced and gathered in September 2016 by Opinion Matters, an online research database which polled the respondents on our behalf. More detailed data points are available upon request.