Worldwide 978 million internet users lost £130bn to cyber crooks, amidst an explosion in connected home gadgets and a poor grasp of basic security practices
Consumers lost £130 billion worldwide to hackers in 2017, including a disproportionate £4.6bn stolen from British consumers, found computer security firm Norton in a new study.
Norton’s annual cyber security report found more than 17 million UK internet users were affected by computer crime, and accounted for nearly 4 percent of the global financial losses, in comparison with the country’s 1 percent of the world population. Worldwide some 978 million were hit by cybercrime, Norton found.
Those affected spent an average of two working days dealing with the aftermath of an attack.
The most comon attacks in the UK included phishing emails, which generally incurred a low cost, as well as technical support scams, which typically cost £44, ransomware, which cost £111, and fraudulent online purchases, which cost up to £166.
One in 12 British consumers have had their computer files locked by ransomware, Norton found, while two in five cyber crime targets had their home Wi-Fi used without their permission.
The £20.7bn stolen from European consumers totalled more than the GDP of ten individual European nations, Norton noted.
The company said password practices were a blind spot for those affected by crime, with those hit tending to have shared passwords with other people or use the same password for all their accounts.
That’s often in spite of having adopted device security measures such as fingerprint scanners or facial recognition, Norton said.
Those hit were more likely than those unaffected by cyber crimes to own large numbers of cutting-edge online devices, such as streaming content gadgets or connected home devices.
And a surprising number of those affected, more than a quarter, continued to believe they were safe from future attacks.
“Despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves,” stated Norton EMEA general manager Nick Shaw. “This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime.”
Ciaran Martin, head of GCHQ’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), said on Tuesday the UK was likely to be hit by a serious, or “category one” (C1) computer attack with risk of loss of life in the near future.
“Most comparable western countries have experienced what we would consider a category one attack so we have been fortunate in avoiding that to date,” Martin said in remarks published by The Guardian.
Martin spoke to the paper ahead of a speech last week in which the chief of the general staff, Sir Nick Carter, called for increased defence spending.
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