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Cybercrime: Many become victims of online fraud

9 July 2012

A European Cybercrime Centre will be established in The Hague. Photo: Alcomm/Flickr (CC)

A new Eurobarometer survey shows that Internet users are very concerned about cyber security: 89% avoid disclosing personal information online, and 74% agree that the risk of becoming a victim of cybercrime has increased in the past year. 12% of internet users across the EU have already experienced online fraud, and 8% have fallen victim to identity theft. Nonetheless, 53% have not changed any of their online passwords during the past year.

"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 Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.

The survey, covering a total of almost 27 000 people in all EU member states, 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.

"Cybercriminals must not be allowed to disrupt our use of the Internet. The more we know about the risks and how to protect ourselves, the more we can truly maximise our digital lives", Cecilia Malmström said.

In March of this year, the Commission proposed to set up a European Cybercrime Centre, or EC3, in 2013 to protect Europeans and businesses against mounting cyber-threats. The centre will focus on illegal online activities carried out by organised crime groups.

Read more: A press release and the full study together with national result. More information about the European Cyber Crime Centre can be found here.