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Nearly a quarter of Britain's internet users hold their ISP or e-mail provider chiefly responsible for guarding against phishing, it has been revealed.

According to a YouGov study conducted in conjunction with Cloudmark, 23 per cent of those surveyed perceive that the principal onus is on firms to guard against identity theft and the potential fraud that this can entail.

Meanwhile, just 26 per cent of respondents said that users themselves are most responsible for securing their connection.

The study also revealed that firms who have been the victim of phishing are often subject to a loss of trust from customers, with 42 per cent saying their perception of a brand would be damaged.

Neil Cook of Cloudmark said: "What is interesting to note from these results is that well-known brands are also suffering, with phishing attacks having a detrimental effect on their reputation.

"This knock-on effect will be particularly worrying for the banks, which rely on a high degree of trust with their customers."

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