Mountain View, CA – Sept. 5, 2012 – Norton by Symantec (NASDAQ:SYMC) today 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 costs1 associated with global consumer cybercrime at US $110 billion2 over the past twelve months.
Every second, 18 adults become a victim of cybercrime3, resulting in more than one-and-a-half million cybercrime victims each day on a global level. With losses totaling an average of US $197 per victim across the world in direct financial costs4, cybercrime costs consumers more than a week’s worth of nutritious food necessities for a family of four5. In the past twelve months, an estimated 556 million6 adults across the world experienced cybercrime, more than the entire population of the European Union.7 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).
Changing Face of Cybercrime
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 devices8 - 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 Marian Merritt, Norton Internet Safety Advocate. “This mirrors what we saw in this year’s Symantec Internet Security Threat Report9 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 before entering sensitive personal information, such as banking details, online.
In addition, this year’s report also indicates that many online adults are unaware as to how some of the most common forms of cybercrime have evolved over the years and thus have a difficult time recognizing how malware, such as viruses, act on their computer. In fact, 40 percent of adults do not know that malware can operate in a discreet fashion, making it hard to know if a computer has been compromised, and more than half (55 percent) are not certain that their computer is currently clean and free of viruses.
“Malware and viruses used to wreak obvious havoc on your computer,” Merritt continues. “You’d get a blue screen, or your computer would crash, alerting you to an infection. But cybercriminals’ methods have evolved; they want to avoid detection as long as possible. This year’s results show that nearly half of Internet users believe that unless their computer crashes or malfunctions, they’re not 100 percent sure they’ve fallen victim to such an attack.”
Strong Email Passwords Still Key
More than a quarter (27 percent) of online adults report having been notified to change their password for a compromised email account. With people sending, receiving, and storing everything from personal photos (50 percent) to work-related correspondence and documents (42 percent) to bank statements (22 percent) and passwords for other online accounts (17 percent), those email accounts can be a potential gateway for criminals looking for personal and corporate information.
“Personal email accounts often contain the keys to your online kingdom. Not only can criminals gain access to everything in your inbox, they can also reset your passwords for any other online site you may use by clicking the ‘forgot your password’ link, intercepting those emails and effectively locking you out of your own accounts,” says Adam Palmer, Norton Lead Cybersecurity Advisor. “Protect your email accordingly by using complex passwords and changing them regularly.”
For more findings from the Norton Cybercrime Report globally and by country, please visit: http://www.norton.com/2012cybercrimereport.
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Norton Cybercrime Report Methodology
Between July 16th, 2012 and July 30th, 2012, StrategyOne conducted online interviews with 13,000 adults, aged 18 to 64 from 24 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey, UAE, UK, USA).
The margin of error for the total sample of adults (n=13018) is 0.9% at the 95% level of confidence 1000 adult respondents were interviewed in each of USA and India, 500 in other countries. The global data has been weighted to ensure all countries have equal representation of n500 adults.
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1 Based on self-reported direct financial costs and losses as a result of cybercrime incidents, such as fraud, theft, and repairs.
2 Symantec Corporation, 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report, September 2012: http://www.norton.com/2012cybercrimereport: Findings are extrapolations based upon results from a survey conducted in 24 countries among adults 18-64. The financial cost of cybercrime in the last year ($110bn) is calculated as follows: Victims over past 12 months (per country) x 197 average financial cost of cybercrime (per country in US dollars).
3 18 cybercrime victims per second and 1.5 million cybercrime victims per day calculated as follows: victims over past 12 months (as below) 556 million / 365 days per year / 24 hours / 60 minutes / 60 seconds
4 Average cost per victim, as reported in the 2011 Norton Cybercrime Report, was US $264
5 United States Department of Agriculture, Official USDA Food Plans: Cost of Food at Home at Four Levels, U.S. Average, June 2012: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/FoodPlans/2012/CostofFoodJun2012.pdf
6 556 million victims in 24 countries over past 12 months is calculated as follows: Latest research from NCR shows 67% of adults in 24 countries have been a victim of cybercrime ever and of these 46% have been a victim in the past 12 months. Online population per country (24 country total = 1bn+ according to CIA World Factbook) x % cybercrime ever per country x % cybercrime past 12 months per country = 556m (sum of 24 countries)
7 United Nations, Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs: World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision, Total population (both sexes combined) by major area, region and country, annually for 1950-2100 (thousands), 2011: http://esa.un.org/wpp/Documentation/pdf/WPP2010_Volume-I_Comprehensive-Tables.pdf
8 Symantec Corporation, 2011 Norton Cybercrime Report, September 2011: http://norton.com/cybercrimereport. Victims of mobile cybercrime increased from 10% (2011 Norton Cybercrime Report) to 13% this year (2012 Norton Cybercrime Report).
9 Symantec Corporation, Symantec Internet Security Threat Report Volume 71, March 2012: http://www.symantec.com/threatreport/