Ten years ago, it probably wouldn’t surprise many people that we were hotter on our home security than our online security. But – with the threat of cyber-crime growing exponentially year on year, can we really afford to still not be applying the same principles to staying as secure online as we do offline?

Latest figures from ONS show that cyber-crime was one of the most common offences committed in 2016, with an estimated 2m cyber-crime incidents compared to 686,000 domestic burglary offences.3

And yet, according to a news story released by Cyber Aware, while 82% of British households have double locks or deadlocks1, only 32% follow the latest government advice to use three random words to create a strong password and on average only 52% regularly download the latest software or app updates.2

For small businesses, where the internet and new technology are vital in how they operate day-to-day, the online world is often as – if not more – important as physical premises, stock or equipment, and yet it’s often not treated with the same forethought.

Investing in commercial building building insurance or some form of equipment cover is accepted as basic business knowledge. Yet very few UK businesses are applying this logic to their cyber presence and assets. Cyber data insurance is designed to protect businesses from data breaches and other cyber liabilities; our Cyber Readiness Reports highlight the impact of this knowledge gap on SME owners.

This is put into sharper relief if you consider how the impact of an online security breach can be just as far reaching for a business.  Apart from the financial cost of a breach, a company’s reputation almost inevitably suffers. Over half, 58%, of consumers said that a breach would discourage them from using a business in the future in a joint report from KPMG and the Government’s Cyber Aware campaign (Small Business Reputation and the Cyber Risk, 2016).

Cyber Aware’s new film brings the impact of cyber-crime to life, showing victims of cyber-crime talking about the effect it has had on their lives. We hope the film will encourage the public to take simple steps to protect themselves from cyber criminals, just as they would take precautions to secure their home.

Cyber Aware recommends – based on advice from the National Cyber Security Centre, a part of GCHQ – that the best ways to protect yourself from cyber-crime are to:

  • Always download the latest software and app updates, they contain vital security upgrades which help protect your devices from viruses and hackers. The most common reason respondents across the UK gave for not downloading software updates was that it takes too long. In reality, it only takes a few minutes compared to the time it can take to recover from a cyber hack.
  • Use three random words to create a strong password. Weak passwords can allow hackers to use victims’ email to gain access to many of their personal accounts, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft and fraud.

To find out more about how to stay secure online visit Cyber Aware or follow the conversation on Twitter @cyberawaregov using hashtag #cyberaware.

Find out more about our Hiscox cyber and data risks insurance


  1. The Crime Survey for England and Wales recorded that in the year to March 2016 82% of households have double locks or deadlocks and 89% have window locks on at least some windows and doors.
  1. An online study was conducted with members of Ipsos MORI’s online panel.  The study was based on 4,002 individuals from the Ipsos MORI online panel and took place between 26 October and 14 November 2016.  Data were weighted by region, age, gender and social grade according to the national online profile.
Software update figures are based on the mean proportion who state that they ‘always’ or ‘often’ download the latest software updates from both laptops or desktops and tablets or mobile phones.
  1. The Crime Survey for England and Wales shows there were an estimated 2 million cyber-crime offences against individuals and 686,000 domestic burglary offences committed in the year to September 2016. Cybercrime includes all computer misuse offences, such as hacking and viruses. However, these are experimental statistics based on interviews with a half-sample of respondents conducted between October 2015 and September 2016.