Norton: Cybercrime totaled $110 billion in losses over last 12 months

“This figure represents 46% of online adults who have been victims of cybercrime in the past twelve months, on par with the findings from 2011 (45%)," Norton researchers said.

Norton places the average loss per victim at $197, so the direct costs associated with global consumer cybercrime have totaled $110 billion over the past 12 months. In the US, however, the figure rises to $290 per victim. With 71 million cybercrime victims in the US, that means the country has felt $21 billion in damage.

Some are skeptical that the number is actually that high, since the figures are self-reported, but Norton said that it stands by its research methods. 

This year's survey also shows that cybercrime is branching out to new arenas, particularly social networks and mobile devices: Twenty percent, or one in five online adults, reported that they have been a cybercrime victim in these areas. Nearly a third of smartphone users have received a text message from a stranger asking them to click on an embedded link or dial an unfamiliar number, according to the Norton findings.

"Cybercriminals are changing their tactics to target fast-growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks," said Effendy Ibrahim, internet safety advocate and director for Asia for Norton.

The mobile threat is the subject of other recent reports. Mobile malware leaped from 70,000 instances in 2009 to almost 90,000 so far this year, according to the McAfee Threats Report: Second Quarter 2012. And Lookout says that premium scams, particularly toll fraud, have emerged as the go-to (and lucrative) way to take advantage of mobile users. Toll fraud, in fact, accounts for 69% of all malware detected by the mobile security firm. That’s up from just 29% last year.

Norton also identified India as a global hotspot for hackers. Cybercrime in India is on the rise, with 66% of Indian online adults having been victims of cybercrime in their lifetime. In the past 12 months, 56% of online adults in India have experienced cybercrime: that’s more than 115,000 victims of cybercrimes every day, 80 victims per minute and more than 1 per second – at an average direct financial cost per victim of $192, up 18% over 2011 (when it was $163).

In terms of new threats, in India, one in three online adults (32%) has been a victim of either social or mobile cybercrime in the last 12 months, and 51% of social network users have been victims of social cybercrime.

The report also showed that many users know to delete phishing emails and watch where they post personal details online. But 25% don't use complex passwords or change their passwords frequently enough, and 38% do not check for the padlock symbol in the browser to make sure a site is secure for online financial transactions.

It’s clear though that consumers are becoming resigned to a world filled with online threats. More than one third (35%) said they are not certain that their computer is currently clean and free of viruses.

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