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Brits have ‘given up’ on online privacy, and coronavirus could boost scammers

More than half of Brits believe the ship has sailed when it comes to protecting their privacy online, according to a new cyber security report. And, amid the coronavirus panic, it could be about to get worse.

61% of those surveyed by NortonLifeLock believe it’s ‘too late’ to claw back their online privacy because the data has already been harvested.

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Likewise, 64% of the British public believe that protecting themselves online is ‘impossible’, while 79% say they believe they have lost control over how the information is used. According to the report, Brits were among the most concerned about their online privacy with 71% more alarmed than ever, compared with 67% globally.

The worldwide study, which surveyed over 1,000 UK residents, claims that 16.5 million Britons were victims of cyber crime, including phishing attacks, in the last year alone. The losses for those attacks have reached £1.4 billion and have cost Brits 64 million hours overall to sort it out.

Norton suggests this figure may continue to rise this year due to the coronavirus outbreak, with cyber criminals set to up their attempts to trick consumers into surrendering their information.

However, while Brits are worried about their online privacy, there’s still a sense that convenience trumps all. 65% of Brits surveyed say they accepted privacy risks in order to make their lives more convenient. On the plus side, 67% of Brits have avoided an app or service if they don’t approve of the firm’s privacy policies.

Related: How to stop Google using your location data for its Covid-19 behaviour tracking reports

“The notion that it’s ‘too late’ to protect their online privacy could put people at great risk. This is further amplified by the conviction that their information is already out of their own hands, as well as their willingness to trade off their privacy for convenience”, said Gareth Lockwood, General Manager EMEA at NortonLifeLock.

“Growing awareness around data privacy issues has compelled consumers to seek more control over their data and take some action to protect their privacy online. However, with over half of Brits (53 per cent) saying they don’t know how to safeguard their online privacy, there’s still a clear need for education on how people can keep themselves, and their data, safe online.”

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