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Symantec Analyst Relations

Cybercrime - is it a man thing?

Created: 10 Oct 2011 • Updated: 25 Jun 2013
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While statistics continue to show that the technology domain is more enticing to men than women, the same cannot be said for mobile phones. A Nielsen study released in January 2011 reported that women spent roughly 25% more time talking or texting on their phones than men. Without getting into the demographic minefield of Mars vs Venus, it's pretty clear that this is one area where parity has been achieved, if not exceeded.

According to recent cybercrime figures from Norton however, there does appear to be a lean towards the connected males of the species. While 51% of respondents to the survey carried out earlier this year claim to have experienced some kind of cybercrime - viruses, fraud and the like - some 70% of younger (18-35) men who access the Internet using their mobile phones were impacted. And while this could be put down to the fact that they were using computers first, 58% of this group say they have been subjected to cybercrime within the past 12 months.

So, just why is it that mobile millennial men are more subject to cybercrime?Looking at internet usage offers a first pointer - some 79% of people who have spent more than 49 hours online a week have been victims of cybercrime, compared to 64% in the 1-24 hours category. There's also the question about what they are doing online, and how they are doing it: using free Wifi, using gambling or dating sites, viewing adult content and indeed, lying about personal details are all factors in the likelihood of being compromised.

The general message is this: mobile or otherwise, those who spend more time taking risks on the Internet are more likely to face the consequences. This isn't the first time young men have been put into the "higher risk" category, and it won't be the last. However, this isn't just a simple question of risk: with cybercrime becoming more about making money, the likelihood is that higher-risk groups will increasingly be targeted, increasing the risk even more. 

While this is no cause for panic, it should at least be a wake-up call. The Internet is a very useful tool, a source of all kinds of information and services. The majority of people might not want to take care about what they access and how, but meanwhile, a minority of bad guys care very much. To ignore this simple reality is to take the highest risk of all.