2012 Norton Study: Consumer Cybercrime Estimated at $110 Billion Annually

Norton by Symantec has released the findings of its annual Norton Cybercrime Report, one of the world's largest consumer cybercrime studies. The study is aimed at understanding how cybercrime affects consumers, and how the adoption and evolution of new technologies impacts people's security. With findings based on self-reported experiences of more than 13,000 adults across 24 countries, the 2012 edition of the Norton Cybercrime Report calculates the direct costs associated with global consumer cybercrime at $110 billion over the past twelve months.

Every second, 18 adults become a victim of cybercrime, resulting in more than one-and-a-half million cybercrime victims each day on a global level. With losses totaling an average of $197 per victim across the world in direct financial costs , cybercrime costs consumers more than a week's worth of nutritious food necessities for a family of four . In the past twelve months, an estimated 556 million adults across the world experienced cybercrime, more than the entire population of the European Union. This figure represents 46 percent of online adults who have been victims of cybercrime in the past twelve months, on par with the findings from 2011 (45 percent).

This year's survey shows an increase in "new" forms of cybercrime compared to last year, such as those found on social networks or mobile devices - a sign that cybercriminals are starting to focus their efforts on these increasingly popular platforms. One in five online adults (21 percent) has been a victim of either social or mobile cybercrime, and 39 percent of social network users have been victims of social cybercrime, specifically:

• 15 percent of social network users reported someone had hacked into their profile and pretended to be them.

• 1 in 10 social network users said they'd fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms.

• While 75 percent believe that cybercriminals are setting their sights on social networks, less than half (44 percent) actually use a security solution which protects them from social network threats and only 49 percent use the privacy settings to control what information they share, and with whom.

• Nearly one-third (31 percent) of mobile users received a text message from someone they didn't know requesting that they click on an embedded link or dial an unknown number to retrieve a "voicemail".

"Cybercriminals are changing their tactics to target fast growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks," says Jason Mok, Country Sales Manager, Philippines, Norton by Symantec. "This mirrors what we saw in this year's Symantec Internet Security Threat Report which reported nearly twice the mobile vulnerabilities in 2011from the year before."

The 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report also reveals that most Internet users take the basic steps to protect themselves and their personal information - such as deleting suspicious emails and being careful with their personal details online. However, other core precautions are being ignored: 40 percent don't use complex passwords or change their passwords frequently and more than a third do not check for the padlock symbol in the browser.

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