News Release

Cyber Security Survey reveals darknet use higher among 18- to 24-year-olds

Peer-Reviewed Publication

University of Kent

A recent survey by the Cyber Security Centre at the University of Kent has revealed that 5% of British adults have browsed the darknet, with 1% acknowledging they have bought items from it, but this percentage is much higher (14%) for 18-24 year olds.

The survey, now in its third year, also revealed that:

  • At least 4% of British adults have been victims of ransomware, where their computer has had malware installed, which encrypts their data and then faced demands for a payment to restore it back to normal. Of those polled, 26% paid the ransom - though even after they complied with the criminals' demands, 35% of them never recovered their data

  • Bitcoins still struggle to become popular among British users - though the ownership figures double in the 18-24 age range

  • When it comes to data breaches, it is the older age group that wants the toughest penalties imposed. Approximately 40% of British adults agree with companies suffering the breach paying larger fines, with the users affected receiving significant compensation. They believe the government should do more to prevent data breaches in companies

  • Almost a third of all GB citizens don't want their medical data to be shared with third parties for any reason, including improving medical care or research.

Overall, the survey has revealed that a generation gap still exists in attitudes to the internet amongst UK population.


The Cyber Security Centre consists of researchers within the School of Computing, the School of Engineering and Digital Arts, and others. The survey is available at

For further information or interview requests contact Sandy Fleming at the University of Kent Press Office.
Tel: 01227 823581/01634 888879

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Notes to editors

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2022 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 5th - 8th August 2016. The survey was carried out online.

The Centre for Cyber Security Research combines research from the Schools of Computing and Engineering & Digital Arts and others in Sciences and Social Sciences. The centre received EPSRC/GCHQ recognition as an Academic Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security Research in 2015.

Established in 1965, the University of Kent - the UK's European university - now has almost 20,000 students across campuses or study centres at Canterbury, Medway, Tonbridge, Brussels, Paris, Athens and Rome.

It has been ranked: third for overall student satisfaction in the 2014 National Student Survey; 23rd in the Guardian University Guide 2016; 23rd in the Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2016; and 22nd in the Complete University Guide 2015.

In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings 2015-16, Kent is in the top 10% of the world's leading universities for international outlook and 66th in its table of the most international universities in the world. The THE also ranked the University as 20th in its 'Table of Tables' 2016.

Kent is ranked 17th in the UK for research intensity (REF 2014). It has world-leading research in all subjects and 97% of its research is deemed by the REF to be of international quality.

Along with the universities of East Anglia and Essex, Kent is a member of the Eastern Arc Research Consortium (

The University is worth £0.7 billion to the economy of the south east and supports more than 7,800 jobs in the region. Student off-campus spend contributes £293.3m and 2,532 full-time-equivalent jobs to those totals.

In 2014, Kent received its second Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education.

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