East Midlands named UK’s most ‘digitally safe’ region

The East Midlands has been named the most ‘digitally safe’ region in the UK in a new study by Barclays.

The Barclays Digital Safety Index score is based on the ability of 6,000 UK adults to protect data, devices and accounts, and to spot digital threats. Respondents in the East Midlands completed a digital safety test and answered questions about the steps to take to protect their devices from online threats.

The East Midlands emerged as the most resilient region, followed by Yorkshire and Humber, and North-West England. On average, people in the East Midlands scored 6.46 in the test, higher than the national average score of 6.27, and higher than neighbouring West Midlands, which scored 6.22. With scores ranging from 1-10, (10 being the maximum score), this places the East Midlands as the most digitally safe region in the UK. London, Northern Ireland and North-East England and Birmingham came bottom of the index with Londoners with a master’s degree and aged 25-34 the most vulnerable group, with men slightly more at risk than women.

Across the UK as a whole, digital familiarity may be fuelling online complacency, with the survey also revealing a generational ‘digital safety gap’ between younger and older respondents. On average, people across the UK scored 6.27 in the test, but digital awareness scores for the oldest age bracket (over 65s) were some 25% higher than the youngest age group tested (18-24 year olds), putting to bed the notion that older people are more at risk of being “duped” by cyber criminals. Furthermore, only 17% of all respondents were able to score full marks in the question asking them to correctly identify digital safety hazards: from online pop-ups and games, spam or “phishing” emails and “smishing” texts or social media messages that trick users into sharing personal details or downloading malware that leave devices vulnerable to hackers.

Cities in general perform more poorly than rural areas. The report considers that a possible explanation for the poor scoring could be “the wider range of activities Londoners (and other city dwellers) carry out online, such as swiping their phones to access public transport and connecting to free public wifi, which could be driving complacency in other areas of their digital lives.”

Nearly a fifth of people who have been a victim of a fraud or scam take no action to boost their digital defences as a result, and only 17% of people in the UK can correctly identify basic digital threats such as social media messages intended to trick users into sharing personal details or downloading malware.

To encourage the nation to consider its own digital vulnerability, Barclays is calling for the public, police and businesses across the UK to unite and tackle this growing issue of public concern and has today launched a multi-million pound Digital Safety drive.

This initiative comes as the latest crime figures show 5.6 million fraud and cyber offences in the UK make up half of all recorded crime and cost the UK £11bn. However these numbers could be higher. New research by Barclays reveals a quarter of people in the UK have experienced a cyber-fraud or scam in the past three years, 18% of them more than once, which suggests that many cyber crimes go unreported.

Under the initiative, Barclays has become the first UK high street bank to give customers greater control over when, where and how their debit cards work. Customers will be able to instantly switch the function for remote purchases on and off, as well as set their own daily ATM withdrawal limits on their Barclays mobile banking app.

The Barclays-led digital safety campaign is aimed at raising the public’s awareness of financial fraud risks, and keeping them safe in the digital age with information, tools and tips on how to strengthen their defences, along with a multi-channel national advertising campaign to alert people to the risk of fraud. The campaign includes an online quiz for people to assess their own digital safety level.

Digital Safety Score by UK region (scores 1-10)

East Midlands6.46
 Yorkshire & Humber6.39
North West England6.35
South West England6.33
East of England6.33
South East England6.33
West Midlands6.22
North East England6.16
Northern Ireland6.12

For a summary of the findings of the survey visit – https://www.home.barclays/content/dam/barclayspublic/docs/BarclaysNews/2017/May/Barclays%20digital%20safety%20exec.%20summary.pdf

Your IT Department provides complete Cyber Security solutions including anti-virus software, Watchguard Firewall Hardware, and advice. To find out more about how we can keep you secure call 0115 7980704 or email us info@your-itdepartment.co.uk