Monday 19 October 2015 12:12 pm

One in five cyber crime victims believe hackers targeted them specifically

Cyber crime: It’s getting personal.

One in five victims of cyber attacks think they were targeted specifically by hackers, as new figures show that Britons are becoming more cautious online.

Some two in five victims lost money, according to a survey from non-profit organisation Get Safe Online.

And we’re not talking small change, either. Over £268m has been lost to the ten biggest cyber crimes reported over the past year, according to figures from the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

Individuals aren’t the only ones affected, as businesses are increasingly getting hit financially by cyber crime, with attacks costing global business over £200bn last year.

The UK’s government has been stepping up its game in the fight against the growing risk of cybercrime. Recently, it classed cyber security as one of the four top threats against the UK, alongside natural disasters, international terrorism and a military invasion.

Read more: One in six new IT jobs is now in cyber security

The Office for National Statistics included online crime in its crime statistics for the first time last week, and found that 2.5m cyber crime offences were recorded in England and Wales last year.

The good news – you’ll be pleased to hear that there is some of that – is that we’re becoming more aware of the risks. One in three of those surveyed thought they knew more about how to stay safe compared to a year ago.

Tony Neate, chief executive of Get Safe Online, recommends that everyone take simple precautions: Having a password on your phone or tablet, choosing the highest security settings on social media accounts, and using a strong password. (And no, “password123” does not count.)

As we spend more of our lives online, our digital footprints inevitably get bigger. Sadly, that means opportunist fraudsters will use information about us to make their scams more believable and difficult to detect.

Several high-profile hacks have been hitting the headlines recently, as 37m users of adultery website Ashley Madison had their personal data exposed, and a data breach affected millions of Carphone Warehouse customers.

This hasn’t been without consequences, as 23 per cent of people surveyed specifically said that the Carphone Warehouse breach was making them more cautious.

Get Safe Online surveyed 2,000 people in an online poll through pollster OnePoll.