Figures showing the sheer scale of UK citizens' internet use prompted the bank to repeat warnings about digital vulnerabilities among the population.
reiterated calls for greater focus on the dangers posed by
computer hackers as it responded to a new UK survey showing
widespread internet use in the country.
In the first three months of the year, 89 per cent of adults in the UK had recently used the internet, up from 88 per cent in 2016; while 9 per cent had never used it, down from 10 per cent last year, according to figures from the Office For National Statistics that were published last Friday.
Heavy use of digital channels – now a growing feature of private
banking and retail financial services in many countries – also
brings with it risk of attacks on networks by criminals,
pranksters and so-called “hactivists”. Last week, millions of
computer users were hit by a “ransomware” virus that hit
institutions such as FedEx and the National Health
Recently, Barclays launched its “Digitial Safety Index”, designed to draw attention to risks. As a bank that has made digital channels an increasingly important part of its business strategy, the stakes are high.
“It’s always great to see internet use across the UK continue to rise. But along with increased access and confidence with digital and with online fraud now the most common crime in the country, we need to make sure everyone has the digital safety knowhow to protect themselves against cyber threats,” Ashok Vaswani, Barclays UK chief executive, said in a statement.
“That’s why we’ve launched a new national campaign on digital safety, and we will do everything in our power to arm people with the tools and information they need. A few practical steps and a dose of vigilance can boost your safety immeasurably. We need to all work together to beat the bad guys,” he said.
Barclays said that 25 per cent of UK individuals have been hit by a cyber-fraud or scam in the past three years, and 18 per cent of them have been hit more than once, suggesting that many such attacks are not reported. Nearly a fifth (17 per cent) of people who have been a victim of a fraud or scam take no action to boost their digital defences as a result, it said. Only 17 per cent of people in the UK can correctly identify basic digital threats such as social media messages intended to trick users into sharing personal details or downloading malware.