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The $6bn Crime: 17 Million UK Consumers Hit Last Year

Cybercrime cost 17 million UK consumers an estimated £4.6bn ($6bn) last year, according to Symantec.

The vendor polled over 21,000 adults across 21 markets, including 1000 in the UK, to compile its 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report.

Globally, cyber-criminals stole £130bn ($172bn) from 978 million consumers in those countries.

The UK’s mature online economy contributed a hefty chunk of the £20.7bn taken from 98.2 million European consumers during the period. Even more telling, each victim of cybercrime is said to have lost nearly two working days (14.8 hrs) dealing with the aftermath of the incident.

Just one in 12 UK consumers suffered a ransomware file lock-down, with over a fifth (22%) failing to regain access to their data despite paying the ransom.

The 44% of total British netizens that claimed never to back-up could be playing a risky game.

“Handing the hackers money simply continues to fund their efforts with no guarantee that you’ll personally be able to regain access to your digital life,” warned Nick Shaw, general manager of Norton EMEA. “In the case of ransomware, crime pays, and we can all take some simple steps to thwart their efforts.”

Tellingly, cybercrime victims were more likely to use the same online password across all their accounts: 20% versus 12% of non-victims.

Cybercrime is becoming more frequent: 60% of those who have suffered an attack in the past were hit in the past year, including 37% who handed over info after being phished, 40% who had their home Wi-Fi cracked, a third who were conned into fraudulent purchases and more than a quarter who fell for tech support scams.

Yet 28% of UK victims think they’re able to protect their data from future attacks and 26% think they’re at low risk of being hit again, according to the report.

“Consumers’ actions revealed a dangerous disconnect: despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves,” said Shaw. “This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime.”

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