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Cybercrime costs a staggering $388 billion annually, says Norton

The $388 billion figure includes $114 billion in financial losses, as well as $274 billion in time lost due to cybercrime, according to the Norton Cybercrime Report.

“This exceeds the cost of the illegal drug trade of cocaine, heroine, and marijuana, based on our research. The shocking scale of cybercrime is one of the most important points to make”, said Adam Palmer, Norton lead cybersecurity advisor.

More than two-thirds of online adults in the world have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime, according to the survey. This number jumps to three-quarters of online adults in the US.

“If three-quarters of the people walking down the street in any town in America were being mugged or robbed, you would be quite frightened. This is what is happening in cyberspace”, Palmer told Infosecurity.

Symantec commissioned StrategyOne to interview 19,636 people in 24 countries for the report.

For the first time, the report reveals that 10% of adults online have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phone. In addition to threats on mobile devices, increased social networking and a lack of protection are likely to be some of the main culprits behind the growing number of cybercrime victims.

The report identifies men between 18 and 31 years old who access the Internet from their mobile phone as the most likely cybercrime victims: in this group 80% have fallen prey to cybercrime in their lifetime.

The most common type of cybercrime involves computer viruses and malware, with 54% of respondents worldwide saying they have experienced these. Viruses are followed by online scams with 11% and phishing scams with 10%.

“If somebody has updated security – if they are using good safety practices and if they are using good security software – these crimes should be largely preventable”, said Palmer.

While 74% of respondents say they are aware of cybercrime, many are not taking the necessary precautions. Forty-one percent of adults indicated they do not have an up-to-date security software suite to protect their personal information online. In addition, less than half review credit card statements regularly for fraud, and 61% do not use complex passwords or change them regularly. Among those who access the internet via their mobile phone, only 16% install the most up-to-date mobile security.

“These results should get the attention of everyone. When you compare cybercrime to things like the illegal drug trade, there should be no doubt this is a real problem and it is causing a significant impact on people’s lives”, Palmer concluded.

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