Cybercrime Hits 431M Web Users

September 28, 2011

symantec-cybercrime.JPGCybercrime has been pervasive in the past year, hitting 431 million web users worldwide in the past year, according to [pdf] a September 2011 study from Norton by Symantec and StrategyOne. Data from the “Norton Cybercrime Report 2011” indicates cybercrime-related losses in the past year totaled $388 billion USD.

Looking at frequency of cybercrime worldwide, the report reveals more than 1 million people are victimized by cybercrime every day, averaging to 14 new victims every second. Focusing on malware, the study finds that although many malware attacks are easily preventable with basic security software, the report finds a lack of preparation by users leads to a high rate of malware instances. Four in 10 (41%) adults surveyed do not have an up-to-date personal security software suite to protect their information online, and 54% of online adults have experienced malware or viruses on their computers.

Mobile Threat Grows

Ten percent of all adults surveyed have experienced cybercrime on their mobile devices. While 39% of adults are most worried about cybercrime on their PC and 36% are most worried about it affecting their laptop, 13% of adults overall and 18% of those in emerging markets are most concerned about mobile cybercrime (among adults who own or two or more devices, one of which is a PC, laptop or phone).

However, only 13% of adults surveyed have an app to wipe personal data from their phone if it is lost, only 15% use a security app to check the safety of files and websites, and only 16% have installed the most up-to-date security.

US Loses $32B to Cybercrime

US losses to cybercrime in the past year are estimated at $32 billion. Each victim lost an average of 10 days dealing with cybercrime incidents, and the value of the lost time is estimated at $108 billion. In Canada, cybercrime cost victims $863 million in cash and nine days of time worth $4.9 billion. The cost of time victims lose to resolving cybercrime issues globally is estimated at $274 billion in the past year. Thirty-nine percent of victims globally cite time lost as their biggest hassle.

China, South Africa Have Highest Victimization Rates

Out of 24 countries surveyed, China (85%) and South Africa (84%) have the highest rates of adults victimized by cybercrime in the past year, closely followed by Mexico (83%). Singapore, India and Brazil all tie for fourth place with 80% of adults experiencing cybercrime. The US and Switzerland both rank in the middle with 73% of adults victimized, slightly ahead of Canada (69%, tied with Spain). Japan ranked 24th with only 38% of adults getting hit by cybercrime.

Heavy Users Suffer Most

Not surprisingly, there is a correlation between heavy web usage and cybercrime. Eight in 10 (79%) people who spend 49 hours or more a week online have been victimized, as have 75% of those who spend 25-48 hours a week and even 64% of those who spend 1-24 hours a week. Overall, the odds an online consumer will become a cybercrime victim in a given year are one in 2.27.

Interestingly, cybercrime victims are twice as likely to have been the victim of a physical crime in the “real world”than non-victims.

Little Legal Action Taken against Cybercriminals

Surprisingly few cybercrime victims attempt to bring cybercriminals to justice. Only 21% in the past year reported the cybercrime to the police, while 59% of those who suffered both physical and cybercrime said there fewer ways to get help after the cybercrime. Eighty-nine percent of all respondents said more needs to be done to bring cybercriminals to justice.

IC3: Web Crime Down YOY, Up in Decade

Complaints of internet crime were down year-over-year in 2010 but up substantially from 2007, according to a March 2011 study from the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). Data from the “2010 Internet Crime Report” indicates that the IC3 received 303,809 internet crime complaints via its website in 2010, down about 10% from 336,665 in 2009. However, this figure is up almost 47% from 206,884 in 2007 and about 10% from 275,284 in 2008.

About the Data: StrategyOne conducted an online survey among 12,704 adults, 4,553 children age 8-17, and 2,379 teachers of students age 8-17 in 24 countries.

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