A significant number of Brits believe they are more likely to fall victim to a physical home break-in than those fearing a digital crime, according to new research.

Sixty per cent of people in the UK think a physical break-in is more likely to happen than a digital crime (37%), revealed the research from BT.

Despite this, those ages between 16 and 44-years-old are now almost as likely to suffer a digital crime (15%) as a home break-in (17%).

The research also revealed that just over a third of Brits (34%) do not consider poor digital security as being a risk to their home.

Regardless of calls for greater awareness of cybercrime, only 10% of people think their Wi-Fi or smartphones could be the most likely source of a crime, compared to 51% who believe their front doors, windows or back door are more likely to be targeted.

Alex Dewdney, NCSC director for engagement, said: “The research from BT suggests a mismatch between ‘awareness’ and ‘action’ when it comes to cyber security. People say they see the effects, but are finding it hard to take the steps needed to avoid on-line fraud. Most people say they are as confident in their home’s digital security as they are its physical security.

“In reality we think more support is needed to help people understand how they can stay safe on-line. The government’s new National Cyber Security Centre is working with BT and other key partners to meet this challenge and find ways of enhancing cyber security for all.”

Worryingly, UK citizens are failing to take advantage of the free security solutions made available to them by their phone and broadband providers.

Only a third of parents and guardians (36%) take advantage of parental control technology to manage web access. This is despite the fact that almost half (49%) of parents are concerned about their children falling victim to cybercrime and 39% admitting that their child has accidentally seen inappropriate content online.

The research highlights worrying security gaps amongst ‘tech savvy’ younger generations. Password protection is the biggest issue for 16-24 year olds, with 40% admitting that they use the same password on all devices. Amongst respondents aged 25-34 years – the age-group most likely to be first-time buyers – almost a quarter (24%) admit they’re not confident about the digital security of their homes.

Commander Chris Greany, City of London Police and national co-ordinator for economic crime said: “The Crime Survey of England and Wales showed that people are much more likely to be a victim of digital crimes in the UK, with almost half of all crime now either fraud or cybercrime.

“Just as people protect their home from burglary so they also need to protect their digital presence. Many broadband and telephone providers now offer free security solutions and we strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of these, to ensure they are protected against the less visible dangers online and over the phone.”

Mark Hughes, CEO, BT Security, added: “People must ensure that they are protecting themselves and their family from increasingly sophisticated cyber threats such as phishing emails, malware, and inappropriate web content.”