One Million Victims of Cybercrime a Day Says Report

Over one million adults around the world are the victim of cybercrime every day, according to figures published Wednesday.

The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 paints a gloomy picture. The company estimates that cybercrime cost online consumers over the 24 countries surveyed a total of $388 billion in just one year. By contrast, according to Adam Palmer, Lead Advisor at Norton Cybersecurity Institute and a former U.S. Navy prosecutor, the entire global trade in cocaine, heroin and marijuana is worth $288 billion.

Globally, the most common—and most preventable—type of cybercrime is computer viruses or malware. The next two most prevalent were online scams and phishing.

All told, Symantec estimates that there are 431 million victims a year. Your chances of being a victim of cybercrime (44% of people reported being a victim) are substantially greater that being a victim of a physical crime (15%).

Those rates vary quite dramatically globally. According to Mr. Palmer, Chinese users are far more likely to suffer an attack. Some 85% of Chinese users were victims, compared to just 38% of Japanese.

European figures show Germans and Poles to be the most likely victims of cybercrime among the nations surveyed.

   1. Germany 76%
   2. Poland 76%
   3. Switzerland 73%
   4. Spain 69%
   5. Italy 68%
   6. France 60%
   7. Sweden 60%
   8. Denmark 57%
   9. U.K. 51%
  10. Belgium 50%
  11. The Netherlands 41%

In all countries surveyed, men were more likely to be victims than women, and the report identifies the riskier behaviors associated with becoming a target for cybercriminals:

   1. Viewing adult content online (80% cf. 67% non-viewers of adult content).
   2. Lying online (78% cf. 59% who don’t lie online).
   3. Using free Wi-Fi (77% cf. 62% who don’t use free Wi-Fi).

A large share of the cybercrime burden is shouldered by emerging markets, with cybercrime costing China £16 billion ($25.8 billion), Brazil £9.5 billion and India £2.5 billion in the past twelve months.

The growing importance of mobile phones and mobile Internet in these markets plays a key role. While globally 10% of online adults have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phone, this triples to 31% in China where nearly three quarters of respondents (74%) access the Internet via their mobile phone.

Symantec carried out the research in 24 countries conducting 19,636 interviews.

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