Research commissioned by Internet security software makers AVG has revealed that one in three people in the UK have experienced some kind of cyber theft over the Internet. What's more, it is also one of the UK's most feared crimes, outranking burglary, assault and robbery according to the independent study of Internet users. In fact 43 percent of Britons feel most vulnerable to cyber theft than burglary which sits on 29 percent, assault on 18 percent and robbery on just 11 percent. Given the levels of street crime, and widespread media reporting on muggings and the like, these figures are nothing short of remarkable.

Approximately 1-in-3 people in the study had experienced some form of cyber theft activity over the internet including fraudulent emails, credit card fraud, and unauthorised bank transfers. Amounts taken ranged from just a few pounds to several thousand pounds. The survey confirms that financial transactions over the internet are on the rise with 85 percent of people now using the internet for shopping and over two thirds doing their banking online. Notwithstanding this, as many as 87 percent admitted they are worried about the threat of cyber theft from online fraudsters.

90 percent have some form of threat protection on their computer although a third of respondents were not convinced they had adequate measures in place to protect themselves. Just three percent said they used no protection at all. Some 25 percent of respondents also claimed there is not enough information available on cyber theft to adequately protect themselves from it.

When it comes to location, then Liverpool is the city most afraid of cyber theft with 93 percent citing it as a concern, followed by Glasgow with 92 percent and Cardiff third with 91 percent. Brighton is the bravest when it comes to online fraudsters, although 79 percent still cited cyber theft as a concern.

"While the risks of theft over the Internet are real it is important to keep it in perspective," said Larry Bridwell, global security strategist at AVG. "There are a number of things you can do to cut down the risks. "These range from making sure you have Internet security installed and regularly updated on your computer," he continued, "through to only using industry recognised internet payment systems and checking for the padlock symbol on the screen."