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According to a YouGov survey published today by VeriSign the average UK consumer is worth £10,077 ($20,000) online in terms of banking, gaming and shopping accounts. The pan-European survey on consumer attitudes to online security concludes that UK Internet users are putting as much as £361 billion ($720 billion) at risk by sharing data on poorly protected web sites.

65 percent of those who took part in the survey admitted sharing personal information with their online bank every week, while 58 percent did likewise with online retailers and surprisingly only 31 percent got friendly on the data sharing front with social networking sites. The sheer amount of personal data that we seemingly all appear to be happy to share means that we are increasingly at risk from identity crime. The survey reckons 75 percent of people give away their date of birth, 70 percent their home address, and 68 percent their mother's maiden name without much thought to the cybercrime consequences. Which is somewhat ironic given that a further 78 percent claimed to be worried about identity theft and 43 percent have either experienced it themselves or know someone who has.

On the more positive side, consumer education has had some effect when it comes to raising online security awareness and 69 percent said they were aware of the browser 'padlock' iconography and 41 percent knew of the VeriSign secured seal as well.

Jon Kerr, VeriSign SSL Manager, UK commented, "It's no surprise that online banks and retailers are some of the most popular targets for identity theft since so many personal details are required by users. As online transactions increase, we need to acknowledge the importance of both technology and consumer behaviour in protecting personal details and monetary assets online. With the average UK consumer worth over £10,000 to criminals, it's clear that each of us is a target."

As Editorial Director and Managing Analyst with IT Security Thing I am putting more than two decades of consulting experience into providing opinionated insight regarding the security threat landscape for IT security professionals. As an Editorial Fellow with Dennis Publishing, I bring more than two decades of writing experience across the technology industry into publications such as Alphr, IT Pro and (in good old fashioned print) PC Pro. I also write for SC Magazine UK and Infosecurity, as well as The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. Along the way I have been honoured with a Technology Journalist of the Year award, and three Information Security Journalist of the Year awards. Most humbling, though, was the Enigma Award for 'lifetime contribution to IT security journalism' bestowed on me in 2011.

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