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The Silent Digital Epidemic: Cybercrime Strikes 70 Percent of Internet Users in Singapore

Norton Cybercrime Report is the First Study to Gauge Emotional Impact of Cybercrime on Internet Users; Victims Feel Ripped Off…and Pissed Off

Singapore – September 9, 2010 – The next time you surf the Internet, consider this: you might just be one click away from becoming the next cybercrime victim. A new study released today from security software maker Norton, reveals the prevalence of cybercrime in Singapore where 70 percent of Internet users have fallen victim to cybercrimes, including computer viruses, online credit card fraud and identity theft. This silent digital epidemic is the result of consumers’ apathy, which leaves them vulnerable and exposed in the online world.


The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact sheds light on the personal toll cybercrime takes. The first study to examine the emotional impact of cybercrime, it showed that Singaporean victims’ strongest reactions are anger (58 percent), frustration (51 percent) and feeling cheated (45 percent). Although one in four Singaporeans blamed the criminals behind the cybercrime, one third of Singaporeans felt highly responsible for cybercriminal activities that resulted from their response to online scams (30 percent) and phishing attacks (24 percent).


Solving cybercrime can be highly frustrating. According to the report, four in 10 (43 percent) cybercrime victims in Singapore have never fully resolved the cybercrime. This is no surprise when it takes an average of 24 days and an average cost of S$1,660 (US$1,202) to come to a resolution. Twenty-six percent of the respondents said the biggest hassle they faced when dealing with cybercrime was the time it took to resolve an average cybercrime incident and 59 percent said their biggest fear when it comes to being a victim of cybercrime is the financial loss.


But despite the hassle, reporting a cybercrime is critical. “We all pay for cybercrime, either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions,” said Effendy Ibrahim, Internet safety advocate & consumer business head, Asia, Symantec. “Cybercriminals purposely steal small amounts to remain undetected, but all of these add up. If you fail to report a loss, you may actually be helping the criminal stay under the radar. Ultimately, the cost of resolving cybercrime is losing money and time – one way or another the victim is paying a ‘price’ and the impact is not just financial but emotional too.”

The “human impact” aspect of the report delves further into the little crimes or white lies consumers perpetrate against friends, family, loved ones and businesses. Twenty-six percent of the respondents think it’s morally okay to download a single music track, album or movie without paying and 22 percent believe it is legal to secretly view someone else’s e-mails or browser history files. These behaviours, such as downloading files, open people up to additional security threats as cybercriminals lurk in places where people download illegal content and make use of these channels to distribute malware.


However, it is not all bad news. The good thing is that most people feel that it’s unethical to hack into someone’s online account (84 percent), sell someone’s personal information (83 percent) and use someone else’s personal information online (81 percent). The study shows that digital respect is given as Singaporeans’ online etiquette rules include not passing along spam (70 percent), not bullying or threatening others online (64 percent) and not harassing or stalking people online (63 percent).


Despite these personal rules, we cannot ignore the alarming finding that 70 percent of Singaporeans have been a victim of cybercrime. The study serves as a stark reminder that there is still a need for people to take simple steps to protect themselves on the online space.


“People resist protecting themselves and their computers because they think it’s too complicated,” said Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely.org and editor of NetFamilyNews.org, who collaborated with Norton on the global study. “But everyone can take simple steps, such as having up-to-date, comprehensive security software in place. In the case of online crime, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.”


The best defense against cybercrime, and the best way to protect yourself, is to surf the Internet with up-to-date, comprehensive security software such as Norton Internet Security 2011, which was launched today.


“People resist protecting themselves and their computers because they think it’s too complicated,” said Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely.org and editor of NetFamilyNews.org, who collaborated with Norton on the global study. “But everyone can take simple steps, such as having up-to-date, comprehensive security software in place. In the case of online crime, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.”


For more tips and insights from this groundbreaking study, or to better understand the alarming extent of cybercrime globally, please view the global report here Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact .

About Norton from Symantec
Symantec’s Norton products protect consumers from cybercrime with technologies like antivirus, anti-spyware and phishing protection -- while also being light on system resources.  The company also provides services such as online backup, PC tuneup, and family online safety.  Fan Norton on Facebook at www.facebook.com/norton and follow @NortonOnline on Twitter.


About Symantec
Symantec is a global leader in providing security; storage and systems management solutions to help consumers and organizations secure and manage their information-driven world.  Our software and services protect against more risks at more points, more completely and efficiently, enabling confidence wherever information is used or stored. More information is available at www.symantec.com.


Note to Editors: If you would like additional information on Symantec Corporation and its products, please visit the Symantec News Room at http://www.symantec.com/news.
Symantec and Norton are trademarks or registered trademarks of Symantec Corporation or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other names may be trademarks of their respective owners.


Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact 2010 Singapore Methodology:
The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact 2010 Singapore is based on research conducted in April 2010 by The Leading Edge, an independent market research firm, on behalf of Symantec Corporation. The Leading Edge conducted an online survey among 455 adults aged 18 and above. Sample size comprised of 50% male and 50% female out of which 13% were 18 to 24 years old; 29% were 25 to 34 years old; 29% were 35 to 44 years old; 29% 45 to 64 years old.


For the purpose of the study, cybercrime is identified as computer viruses/malware, online credit card fraud, online hacking, online harassment, online identity theft, online scams (i.e., fraudulent lotteries/employment opportunities), online sexual predation, online phishing.


The study was also conducted globally by an independent market research firm across 7066 adults in 14 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom and United States).


For the global study, Norton and StrategyOne collaborated with Anne Collier, editor of NetFamilyNews.org and founder and executive director of its parent organization, Net Family News, Inc. Anne is a writer and journalist who has worked in the news media since 1980. She co-directs ConnectSafely.org, a Web-based interactive forum and information site for teens, parents, educators, and everybody interested in the impact of the social Web on youth and vice versa. ConnectSafely is a project of Net Family News, Inc. Anne has just completed her work as co-chair of the Obama administration's Online Safety & Technology Working Group and serves on the advisory boards of the London- and Washington-based Family Online Safety Institute and GetNetWise.org, a project of the Washington-based Internet Education Foundation. In 2008, she served on the Internet Safety Technical Task Force at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet & Society.