YORK, England, September 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Millions of adults are self confessed computer hackers with more than one in 10 (13%) admitting they have accessed someone else's online account details without their permission.
According to research by life assistance company CPPGroup Plc (CPP), the most common 'casual' hacking takes place on Facebook and other social network sites. And while this will often be viewed as harmless spying, many admitted to accessing personal and work emails, money transaction portals such as PayPal and online banking sites.
Many people (32%) casually dismissed their hacking as something they did 'just for fun' while others admitted they did it to check up on their other half (29%) or a work colleague (8%).
But it wasn't all passive spying - two per cent had very different motives admitting they did it for financial gain.
Proving what goes around comes around though, the research shows that 16% of people have had their own online password-protected information accessed without their permission. Of these, nearly a quarter (24%) have had their personal e-mails accessed and 7% claim to have had their work e-mails accessed. A further 19% say their eBay accounts have been hacked and 16% their social networking profiles. One in 10 claim to have had money or a loan taken out in their name.
Identity fraud expert from CPP, Danny Harrison said: "People may dismiss checking up on their friend or partner's accounts as a bit of fun, but in reality they are hacking. Looking at someone's personal information without their knowledge is a serious act and one that could have serious repercussions both personally and professionally. We would urge everyone to be very careful about sharing passwords and to be vigilant about monitoring their accounts."
Worryingly, the internet's capacity to encourage this type of activity remains unchallenged. Step by step video internet tutorials are thriving with hacking tutorials available for PayPal, Facebook, iPhones, Networks, Apps, MySpace, Twitter, Blackberry and CCTV and over 20,000 videos on YouTube with basic hacking information and tips.
These online hacking tutorials are widely known about with almost a fifth (17%) of people aware of their existence. But the vast majority (87%) agree that this kind of material should not be available online. The majority (63%) think 'hacking' tutorials should be removed from the internet; with over half (56%) saying the Government should take action to remove 'hacking' tutorials from the internet. A similar number (59%) feel these videos and step-by-step guides increase the risk of identity fraud.
The trend is highlighted after several large-scale episodes of organised hacking have targeted commercial companies including Sony and Nintendo.
CPP is urging people to take steps to protect themselves from 'casual' hacking where possible, and encouraging the Government to take a stronger stance on internet hacking tutorials.
Danny Harrison continued: "Hacking presents a risk to consumers and businesses and it is important people take the necessary steps to protect their identities and manage any compromised data. People are concerned about their password protected information being accessed without their permission and we are calling on the Government to review access to these online hacking lessons."
CPP's top tips on protecting your information from hackers:
1. Change your passwords regularly - the longer and more obscure, the better
2. Leave a website if you notice strange behaviour (unknown certificates, pop-ups etc.)
3. Avoid transmitting sensitive data over public (free or otherwise) Wi-Fi
4. When seeking Wi-Fi connections: know who you are connecting to, be wary of free Wi-Fi access
5. If using a smartphone: disable Wi-Fi 'auto-connect'
6. If you are concerned about identity fraud, consider purchasing an identity fraud protection product to help you detect, prevent and resolve any incidence of the fraud
The Golden Rule is that unless you know your connection is secure, do not communicate any information or data that you wouldn't feel comfortable shouting across a crowded room.
If you want more information on how to protect yourself, please visit CPP's blog
ICM interviewed a random sample of 2005 adults aged 18+ online between 19 - 20 April 2011. Surveys were conducted across the country and the results have been weighted to the profile of all adults. ICM is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Further information at http://www.icmresearch.co.uk
Corporate Background Information
The CPPGroup Plc
The CPPGroup Plc (CPP) is an international marketing services business offering bespoke customer management solutions to multi-sector business partners designed to enhance their customer revenue, engagement and loyalty, whilst at the same time reducing cost to deliver improved profitability.
This is underpinned by the delivery of a portfolio of complementary Life Assistance products, designed to help our mutual customers cope with the anxieties associated with the challenges and opportunities of everyday life.
Whether our customers have lost their wallets, been a victim of identity fraud or looking for lifestyle perks, CPP can help remove the hassle from their lives leaving them free to enjoy life. Globally, our Life Assistance products and services are designed to simplify the complexities of everyday living whether these affect personal finances, home, travel, personal data or future plans. When it really matters, Life Assistance enables people to live life and worry less.
Established in 1980, CPP has 11 million customers and more than 200 business partners across Europe, North America and Asia and employs 2,300 employees who handle millions of sales and service conversations each year.
In 2010, Group revenue was £325.8 million, an increase of more than 12 per cent over the previous year.
In March 2010, CPP debuted on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
What We Do:
CPP provides a range of assistance products and services that allow our business partners to forge closer relationships with their customers.
We have a solution for many eventualities, including:
- Insuring our customers' mobile phones against loss, theft and damage
- Providing assistance to cancel and reorder customer's payment cards should these be lost or stolen
- Providing assistance and protection if a customer's keys are lost or stolen
- Providing advice, and assistance to help customers in the event their identity is fraudulently used
- Assisting customers with their travel needs be it an emergency (for example lost passport), or basic translation service
- Monitoring the credit status of our customers
- Provision of packaged services to business partners' customers
CPP is an award winning organisation:
- Finalist in the Plc Awards, New Company of the Year, 2011
- Winner in the European Contact Centre Awards, Large Team of the Year category, 2010
- Finalist in the European Contact Centre Awards, Best Centre for Customer Service, Large Contact Centre of the Year categories, 2010
- Finalist in the National Sales Awards, Contact Centre Sales Team of the Year category, 2010
- Finalist in the National Insurance Fraud Awards, Counter Fraud Initiative of the Year category, 2009
- Finalist in the European Contact Centre Awards, Large Team and Advisor of the Year categories, 2009
- Named in the Sunday Times 2008 PricewaterhouseCoopers Profit Track 100
- Finalists in the National Business Awards, 3i Growth Strategy category, 2008
- Finalist in the National Business Awards, Business of the Year category, 2007, 2009 and Highly Commended in 2008
- Named in the Sunday Times 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 HSBC Top Track 250 companies
- Regional winner of the National Training Awards, 2007
- Winner of the BITC Health, Work and Well-Being Award, 2007
- Highly Commended in the UK National Customer Service Awards, 2006
- Winner of the Tamworth Community Involvement Award, 2006. Finalist in 2008
- Highly Commended in The Press Best Link Between Business and Education, 2005 and 2006. Winner in 2007
- Finalist in the National Business Awards, Innovation category, 2005
For more information on CPP click on http://www.cppgroupplc.com
1. According to the ICM research, 13% of people have have ever accessed someone else's password-protected information, without their permission, equivalent to 5,922,000 people.
2. 16% of those who have had their password protected information accessed.