More than one million cybercrime victims a day

Cybercrime, valued at $388 billion in 2010, is now bigger than the estimated $288 billion global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined, says security software company Norton, once lost time caused by cybercrime is counted.

Sep 22, 2011
By Paul Jacques
Helen McEntee. Picture: PA Media

Cybercrime, valued at $388 billion in 2010, is now bigger than the estimated $288 billion global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined, says security software company Norton, once lost time caused by cybercrime is counted.

The latest Norton Cybercrime Report shows that more than two thirds of online adults (69 per cent) have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime. Every second, 14 adults become a victim of cybercrime, resulting in more than one million cybercrime victims every day.

For the first time, the Norton Cybercrime Report reveals that ten per cent of adults online have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phone. There were 42 per cent more mobile vulnerabilities in 2010 compared to 2009 – a sign that cybercriminals are starting to focus their efforts on the mobile space, says the report.

In addition to threats on mobile devices, increased social networking and a lack of protection are likely to be some of the main culprits behind the growing number of cybercrime victims.

“There is a serious disconnect in how people view the threat of cybercrime,” said Adam Palmer, Norton’s lead cybersecurity adviser. “Cybercrime is much more prevalent than people realise. Over the past 12 months, three times as many adults surveyed have suffered from online crime versus offline crime, yet less than a third of respondents think they are more likely to become a victim of cybercrime than physical world crime in the next year.

“And while 89 percent of respondents agree that more needs to be done to bring cybercriminals to justice, fighting cybercrime is a shared responsibility. It requires us all to be more alert and to invest in our online smarts and safety.”

Globally, the most common – and most preventable – type of cybercrime is computer viruses and malware, followed by online scams and phishing messages. For instance, there are now more than 286 million unique variations of malware in circulation, a rise of nearly 20 per cent in one year.

In addition, less than half review credit card statements regularly for fraud (47 per cent) and 61 per cent don’t use complex passwords or change them regularly.

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