A European Commission survey of 27,000 people in all EU member states shows that twelve percent of Internet users have experienced online fraud and eight per cent have fallen victim to identity theft.
While almost three-quarters of those polled agree that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year, more than half (53%) have not changed their passwords in the previous 12 months.
Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for home affairs, says: "While ever more people are making the most out of the Internet and benefit from the digital economy, it is not surprising that security of personal information and online payments top the list of our concerns. What is more surprising is that only half of Europeans take effective measures to protect themselves from cybercrime", said
The survey shows a strong link between being informed about the risks of cybercrime and feeling confident online. A majority of those who feel confident in doing online banking or shopping say that they also feel well informed about cybercrime.
Fifty-three per cent of Internet users quizzed by the Commission say they buy goods or services online, 52% use social networking sites, 48% bank online, while 20% sell goods or services
However, 29% are not confident about their ability to use the Internet for things like online banking or online purchases and 59% do not feel well informed about the risks of cybercrime.
The Commission is currently recruiting for 30 full-time positions to staff a new cybercime lab which will open in January next year at Eurpol headquarters in the Hague. The new European Cybercrime Centre will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups, especially attacks targeting e-banking and other online financial activities.