Concerns high in UK over app security: take action to stay safe online!
Concerns high in UK over app security: take action to stay safe online!

A new survey of 2000 people from F5 networks has revealed that individuals are still not taking action to stay safe online despite growing fears of cyber-criminal activity.

More than a quarter of Brits don't check app security measures before downloading them even though almost 30 percent believe hackers are likely to use shopping apps like Amazon and eBay to target their devices.

The least likely to be checked included news (19 percent), fitness (15 percent) and gaming apps (15 percent). Apps holding financial information didn't fare much better, with 12 percent not checking banking apps even though 83 percent of respondents fear their financial data will be hacked.

Only 23 percent reported concern about medical information. Users potentially saw less opportunity for hackers to access their medical information, though continued attacks on hospitals and NHS Trusts in the past year could say otherwise.

“The growing concerns demonstrate that consumers are no longer in the dark about cyber-security risks, but there is still more education needed – it's not uncommon for a hacker to use work and business details to gain access to financial data or for hospitals to be targeted with a ransomware attack over confiscated medical information,” said Gad Elkin, security director, EMEA at F5 Networks. “The lines between work and personal lives have become blurred and we need more robust cyber-security policies to reflect that”.

Some users reported wariness about some apps collecting their data including Facebook (48 percent), eBay (20 percent), Amazon (19 percent) and WhatsApp (18 percent). Almost three in five (58 percent) were concerned about Facebook being high on the target list for hackers. Only seven percent think Snapchat is a target for hackers despite it being the number one used app in 2016.

Two-thirds of those with access to computers (67 percent) say the IT team authenticates new downloads made on their devices. Only 13 percent are concerned about the lack of security controls at work and only 11 percent on the risk of work information and business details being hacked.

Despite mixed business policies on password changes and security, 23 percent of respondents said that it is not obligatory to change their password at all at work.

“The debate around password security policies continues to divide IT teams. The importance of changing passwords must be reiterated, but in particular the use of two-factor authentication systems to add an extra layer of security. Employees might not be concerned about workplace security, but businesses certainly should be,” Elkin said.