Reacting to the publication, today, of ONS figures suggesting 6.7 million adults in the UK have never used the internet, KPMG’s Stephen Bonner warns that inactivity online does not guarantee protection from cyber crime and internet-based fraud.
According to Bonner: “Perhaps the small, but significant, proportion of the UK’s population yet to engage in cyberspace believes that by refusing to adopt an online persona, they don’t need to worry about cyber security. The truth is that despite not using the internet directly, their retailers, financial service providers, transport and government all now rely on connected services and information about them that could be hacked.
“A figure just short of 7 million is ripe pickings for cyber crime and these individuals need to be informed consumers and citizens, asking the right questions about how their information is being used by others – even if they are yet to join the digital revolution,” he adds.
“Increasingly they will be forced to interact in an environment they don’t fully understand or feel comfortable with, leading to greater risks around cyber fraud or identity theft. Historically, far more people under the age of 34 have used the internet than those aged 65 or above – but today the fastest growing users of social media are the over 65s,” he went on to say.
He concluded saying: “This group recognises the need to master cyber security, but with limited knowledge the onus must be on suppliers of online services to educate and ensure that the online world is safe for all their customers to engage in.”
The ONS report also noted that:
- 44.3 million adults (87%) in the UK had used the Internet in Q4 2013, an increase of 1.2 million since Q4 2012.
- 6.7 million adults (13%) had never used the Internet, falling by 0.7 million since Q4 2012.
- Almost all (99%) 16 to 24 year olds had used the Internet, compared with just over a third (36%) of adults aged over 75.
- Men (89%) were more likely to be Internet users than women (85%).
- London had the highest proportion of Internet users (90%); Northern Ireland the lowest (79%).