Global cost of cybercrime on victims shoots to $113B in 2013

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By Tom Noda

Tech security firm Symantec reported that while the number of global consumer cybercrime victims has decreased this year, the equivalent cost on victims has reached $113 billion — an increase of $3 billion since year 2012.

Philip Routley, Symantec?s product marketing manager for consumer and SMB

According to Symantec’s Norton Report (formerly the Norton Cybercrime Report), the number of online adult victims at present dropped to 378 million from 556 million in 2012, or from 46 percent to 41 percent.

The Norton Report was based on self-reported experiences of more than 13,000 online adults across 24 countries led by Russia (85 percent), followed by China (77 percent) and South Africa (73 percent).

The study likewise highlighted that the average cost per victim has risen by 50 percent or $298 up from $197 in 2012.

Web attacks jumped 30 percent in 2012, driven by the easy availability of malware toolkits and the high frequency of unpatched vulnerabilities on websites, according to the report.

Philip Routley, Symantec?s product marketing manager for consumer and SMB, said cybercriminals today are using more sophisticated attacks such as ransomware and spear-phishing, which yield them more money per attack than ever before.

This year?s report further revealed that 63 percent of those surveyed own smartphones and 30 percent own tablets but nearly one-in-two don?t take basic precautions such as using passwords, having security software, or backing up files on their mobile device.

Routley said that as consumers become more mobile and connected, these conveniences often come at a cost to them and their security.

?With 49 percent of consumers using their personal mobile device for both work and play, this creates entirely new security risks for enterprises as cybercriminals have the potential to access even more valuable information,? Routley said.

The executive noted consumers can be attacked even when they visit a legitimate website, an attack that puts their devices and personal information at risk.

?Unfortunately while consumers are protecting their computers, there is a general lack of awareness to safeguard their smartphones and tablets. It?s as if they have alarm systems for their homes, but they?re leaving their cars unlocked with the windows wide open. This carelessness places them, and their digital identities, at risk,? Routley added.

The 2013 Norton Report also found that many consumers are engaging in risky behavior that has them playing a game of chance with their private information, putting them at risk of becoming the next victim of online criminals.

Survey results showed that wrong habit isn?t entirely due to lack of awareness since one-third (34 percent) of consumers surveyed admitted that the convenience of being constantly connected outweighed any potential security risks.

Also 62 percent said that there is no such thing as ?online privacy? in today?s world and 61 percent assume that ?everything they put online will or can be seen by any and everyone.?

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