A new study released today from security software maker Norton has revealed that two-thirds (65%) of Internet users globally have fallen victim to cybercrimes, including computer viruses, online credit card fraud and identity theft. As the most victimised nations, America ranks third, after China (83%) and Brazil and India (tie 76%).
The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact shines a light on the personal toll cybercrime takes. The first study to examine the emotional impact of cybercrime, it shows that victims’ strongest reactions are feeling angry (58%), annoyed (51%) and cheated (40%), and in many cases, they blame themselves for being attacked. Only 3% don’t think it will happen to them, and nearly 80% do not expect cybercriminals to be brought to justice, resulting in a reluctance to take action and a sense of helplessness.
“We accept cybercrime because of a ‘learned helplessness’,” said Joseph LaBrie, PhD, associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University. “It’s like getting ripped off at a garage – if you don’t know enough about cars, you don’t argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad.”
Despite the emotional burden, the universal threat, and incidents of cybercrime, people still aren’t changing their behaviors - with only half (51%) of adults saying they would change their behavior if they became a victim. Fewer than half (44%) reported the crime to the police.
According to the report, it takes an average of 28 days to resolve a cybercrime, and the average cost to resolve that crime is $334. 28% of respondents said the biggest hassle they faced when dealing with cybercrime was the time it took to solve.
“We all pay for cybercrime, either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions,” said Adam Palmer, Norton lead cyber security 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.”
There are however steps people can take to protect themselves, says the report.
“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 best defense against cybercrime, and the best way to protect yourself, is to surf the internet with up-to-date, comprehensive security software.