A study of crime fears released by the UK government has found that 21 per cent of Brits feel most at risk from internet crime – a higher figure than for burglary, mugging and car theft. Since the October 2005 launch more than 750,000 people have visited the Get Safe Online website.

"There are some problems out there," said Get Safe Online campaign boss Tony Neate. "But simple, easy precautions mean you can be really safe."

The Get Safe Online campaign starts a national tour aiming to educate people about good web-browsing habits at a time when broadband takeup and online use has increased dramatically.

Neate said that 57 per cent of UK households have an internet connection. About 69 per cent of these have broadband.

The survey also found that British shoppers spent more than £13bn online in the first six months of 2006, and that 52 per cent of Brits did their banking online.

Other findings include:

  • 18% will not shop online because they are concerned about becoming a victim of internet crime.
  • 23% have opened an email attachment from an unknown source.
  • 17% had no antivirus software.
  • 22% had no firewall.

A recent BBC investigation into internet-based attacks on Windows PCs found they could happen as often as every 15 minutes. An unprotected PC was set up as a 'honeypot', and every hour it logged at least one malicious attack that could render it unusable or make it access other machines.