Symantec Reports Two-Thirds Of Users Hit By Cybercrime

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Cybercrime is more prevalent than previously thought… and users are not happy

A global survey by Symantec has found that 65 percent of PC users have fallen victim to some sort of cybercrime, ranging from malware infection to online identity theft.

Although The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact showed around two thirds of the 7,000 users surveyed reported falling victim to cybercrime, the UK figures showed 59 percent. Globally, China led the way with 83 percent, while Brazil and India were tied at 76 percent, and 73 percent in the US.

Victims feel angry and cheated

After being victimised, 58 percent of respondents said their strongest reaction was anger, while 40 percent reported they felt cheated. Underlying this was an apparently widespread belief that cybercriminals will escape justice. Nearly 80 percent (88 percent in the UK) said they doubted that the criminals would be caught and the vast majority of victims blame themselves for being tricked by online scams and malware attacks (77 percent and 73 percent, respectively).

“We all pay for cybercrime, either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions,” said Adam Palmer, Norton’s lead cybersecurity advisor. “Cybercriminals purposely steal small amounts to remain undetected but all of these add up. If you fail to report a loss, you may actually be helping the criminal stay under the radar.”

According to the report, it takes a global average of 28 days to resolve a cybercrime, at an average cost of $334 (£217). Fewer than half of the victims surveyed reported the crime to police.

Despite the threat, many users apparently have no plans to make any changes to their own behaviour online. In fact, just 51 percent said they would change if they became a victim. Three percent of those surveyed feel cybercrime will not happen to them.

Ironically, a quarter of the respondents believe it is legal or perfectly okay to secretly view someone else’s emails or browser history. A third of them admitted to having used a fake online identity.

“People resist protecting themselves and their computers because they think it’s too complicated,” said Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely.org and editor of NetFamilyNews.org, who collaborated with Norton on the study, “but everyone can take simple steps, such as having up-to-date, comprehensive security software in place. In the case of online crime, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.”

The European Commission set up a cybercrime unit earlier this year.

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