Two thirds of web users hit by cyber crime

Cyber criminal

Almost two-thirds of people in the world have been hit by cyber crime in some capacity, be it from viruses, credit card fraud or identity theft, a report has shown.

The most serious threat by far is malware, which was responsible for 51 per cent of cyber crimes affecting victims surveyed by Norton.

Just 10 per cent of those hit by cyber crime said they had been duped by an online scam, while phishing hit nine per cent and social network profile hacking seven per cent.

As for resolving cyber crimes, the average time it took to wrap cases up was 28 days, although the UK performed better with 25 days.

It also cost less in the UK to resolve these crimes, the national average being $153.13 (99.40), compared to the global figure of $334.

"We all pay for cyber crime, either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions," said Adam Palmer, Norton's lead cyber security advisor.

"Cyber criminals 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."

Almost a third of victims globally said they never resolved a cyber crime.

Getting emotional

Symantec claimed the Norton study was the first to ever explore the emotional impact of cyber crime.

The strongest reaction to being hit by such a crime was "anger" with 51 per cent admitting to getting irate when attacked. Next was "annoyed" on 51 per cent, followed by "cheated" on 40 per cent.

Despite this, just half of the 7,000 adults polled said they would change their behaviour if they became a victim.

"We accept cyber crime because of a learned helplessness'," said Joseph LaBrie, associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University.

"It's like getting ripped off at a garage - if you don't know enough about cars, you don't argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad."

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.