Internet Purchases Promote Crime

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ONS statistics show UK internet use increases, but so does crime

Dentists and their patients have one key fact in common, we are all using the internet more, and more of us are shopping online. The latest figures from the Office of National Statistics show that since 1998 the number of households with internet access in the UK has risen from 9% to 93%.

And over the last three months 35% of us have made 11 or more purchases online, the majority of us (44%) spending between £100.00 and £499.00. In fact, 29% spent from £500.00 to over £1000.00. The internet is humming with activity.

But we don’t limit our activity to the home. We increasingly take our prediliction for online shopping out onto the street, into coffee houses and bars, even dental practices. Away from our secure houses and offices we access the internet via public WiFi, and that is also driving an increase in crime.

Simon Migliano, Head of Research at VPN review service, explains: “How we use the internet is fuelling a massive rise in cyber-crime. According to these ONS figures, 7% of adults have suffered from fraudulent credit or debit card use from using the internet, and more than a third of people using the internet have received fraudulent emails and messages.

“Cyber-criminals seem to always be one step ahead of the authorities and the way we access the internet is contributing to this increase in cyber-crime. More than 80% of people are now using the internet while on the go, and, in many cases, we are accessing the internet away from the office and the home via public WiFi networks.

“Public WiFi is convenient, but it’s also open and less secure than your personal, private network at home. Not only will you not know who set it up – or who else is connected – anyone using the same WiFi network is able to see what you’re doing on your laptop or smartphone because your data is not encrypted on these networks.

Simon continued: “Cyber criminals can easily intercept communications between the public WiFi user and the WiFi router, meaning they can capture and view all your incoming and outgoing data. Public WiFi is a potential goldmine of valuable data for hackers, and without any security your personal and financial information is at risk of falling into the wrong hands.

“The increased usage of public WiFi is also one of the main reasons why we have seen an 18% rise in demand for Virtual Private Networks (VPN) in the UK over the past 12 months. If you switch on a VPN whenever you connect to public WiFi, this piece of software encrypts your internet connection, making it impossible for anyone to steal your data.”

Photos by Markus Spiske and Jay Wennington on Unsplash