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17 November 2015
Fewer than half of Scots report problems encountered online

Fewer than half of Scots report problems encountered online

Fewer than half of Scots who have experienced problems online in the last year have reported it, according to new figures.

A Scottish Government commissioned survey found that 47 per cent of respondents had experienced a problem whilst online, primarily being directed to fake websites asking for personal information.

One in ten (11 per cent) reported being exposed to “upsetting or illegal images” while a similar number had fallen victim to unauthorised access or use of personal data.


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However, 54 per cent of individuals who had experienced such problems revealed they had not reported it to anyone.    

Of those who did, their bank was most commonly approached, while nine per cent went to website administrators such as Facebook and five per cent to the police.

Almost nine in ten said that they took precautions to protect themselves online with up-to-date security software the principal step taken.

Fifteen per cent only used well-known or popular websites, 13 per cent checked that a website is secure, 11 per cent refrained from putting personal details online, and 10 per cent said they were vigilant with passwords.

Bill Buchanan, professor of computing at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are in an era where your personal data is worth money to someone and it is not just your credit card details they are after.

“We all must understand the risks involved in using the internet, especially as we increasingly use the internet for work and in our social life.

“Increasingly it is our data which will be the focus for our adversaries. Thus, it is important to understand the risks of every page that we visit and every network that we connect to, as a single data breach can have a massive effect on companies and individuals.”

Meanwhile, the survey found almost nine in ten (86 per cent) adults in Scotland use the internet, though usage is determined by a variety of factors.

More than one in four (28 per cent) of adults over the age of 55 reported never using the internet as well as 26 per cent of those living in the most deprived areas compared to four per cent in the least deprived areas.

Overall usage figures show that “many of the barriers that were once placed around the adoption of electronic public services are now falling”, said Buchanan, albeit a ‘digital by default’ agenda is “still failing” when it comes to certain parts of the population.

“While the statistics on the over 55 year old citizens is perhaps due to a lack of adoption of new technology, the relatively larger percentages of non-adoption in more deprived areas is a worrying statistic,” said Buchanan, who leads the Centre for Distributed Computing, Networks and Security. 

“Recent studies have shown that children with access to internet resources for education generally increase their grades in exams. Other research has found a strong link high levels of internet use and future educational attainment.

“There thus has more has to be done to support digital inclusion with educational resources, as one of the key strengths of the internet is that it provides education for all who can access it.”

A total of 1,002 respondents across Scotland were interviewed by Ipsos MORI between August 24 and 30 this year.

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