Home Editor's View Living in Fear

Living in Fear

by Brian Sims
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI: Editor of Risk UK

The BRE’s National Security Survey has revealed that personal security is becoming an increasing worry across the UK, with two out of every three respondents questioned now more concerned about crime today than they were five years ago. The Top Three issues raised as causing the greatest degrees of concern are cyber crime, terrorism and property crime.

Developed by the creators of SABRE (the BRE’s security assessment and certification scheme for new and existing buildings and built infrastructure assets), the National Security Survey was initiated to help understand how people’s perceptions influence their everyday decision-making in relation to their home life, working environment and travel arrangements.

In 2016, there were 38% more cyber security incidents than in the previous year, while 2017 witnessed a number of high-profile episodes, including the direct e-mail hack on the Houses of Parliament and the DDoS attack on Lloyds, Halifax and Bank of Scotland which ran for two days in January. That incident arose just months after a serious cyber heist against Tesco Bank, when no less than £2.5 million was lost from 9,000 accounts.

Following the increase in tempo of notable cyber attacks, it’s of little surprise to learn that 25% of respondents place cyber crime as their highest concern. Despite this, one-in-five placed it as their lowest concern. This could mean these particular individuals are either content with existing security controls or perhaps agnostic towards the potential threats now posed.

Either way, it’s clear that there’s a lot more to be done in relation to the threat emanating from determined cyber criminals, with the global cost of online attacks estimated to reach a figure of $2 trillion by next year. That represents a three-fold increase from the 2015 estimate of $500 billion.

In a year when UK terror arrests rose by a substantial 68% to attain record levels, coupled with a string of large-scale attacks across the UK and Europe, terrorism has been a regular feature of daily news broadcasts and social media feeds. This notoriety has undoubtedly led to increased concern around the issue, with two-thirds of respondents to the BRE’s study observing that recent acts of terrorism have led them to become more security-conscious when ‘out and about’.

When questioned about whether or not recent terrorist attacks across Europe had influenced their travel decisions within the UK, one-in-two respondents said they had. Terrorism has a remarkable societal reach, harbouring an ability to create fear far beyond the individuals directly involved in a given incident.

Asked about what types of measures would engender a feeling of heightened security in the working environment, at the top of the list (with a score of over 58%) is the desire to see proactive management and regular security updates for all employees. Security-rated windows/doors and CCTV installations came in second and third place respectively. This highlights that investment in management and the creation of a security culture in the workplace may have every bit as significant an impact in creating an environment wherein staff feel safe and secure as do capital-intensive crime prevention and security interventions.

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