Cybercrime Prevalent Worldwide, Study Says
Cybercrime is a rampant problem, striking 65 percent of Internet users worldwide and 73 percent of users in the U.S., according to a new study released by security vendor Symantec.
Web surfers have fallen victim to such cybercrimes as computer viruses , online credit card fraud, online scams, social networking profile hacking and identity theft . America ranks third as the most victimized nation, after China (83 percent) and Brazil and India (tied at 76 percent), according to the Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact, which surveyed some 7,000 adults in 14 countries. Symantec is the maker of Norton anti-virus products.
Malware, or computer virus attacks, which have affected just over half of all respondents, are the most common form of cybercrime , according to the survey. However, only 10 percent of adults said they’ve been victims of online scams, and only 7 percent have fallen prey to credit card fraud.
The study also looks at the emotional toll cybercrimes have on users. Most of the victims—58 percent—said they’re angry, while 51 percent said they’re annoyed and 40 percent said they feel cheated. Only 3 percent of the 7,000 users said they don’t think they would ever be the victims of cybercrimes. And 80 percent said they don’t believe that cybercriminals will ever be brought to justice.
“We accept cybercrime because of a ‘learned helplessness,’” said Joseph LaBrie, an associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University, in a statement. “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.”
The “human impact” aspect of the report also reveals how users view certain online behaviors. Nearly half of respondents said they think it’s legal to download a single music track, album or movie without paying and 24 percent said they believe it’s legal or perfectly acceptable to secretly view someone else’s e-mails or browser history.
However, despite the prevalence of cybercrime and their feelings toward it, people still aren’t changing their behaviors, according to the report. In fact, only 51percent of the adults surveyed said they’d change their behavior if they became victims. And only 44percent of victims said they reported the crimes to the police.
According to the report, solving cybercrime isn’t an easy task; it takes an average of 28 days to resolve a cybercrime. Twenty-eight percent of respondents said the biggest hassle they face when dealing with cybercrime is the time it takes to solve it.
But despite the hassle, it’s imperative that victims report cybercrimes.
“We all pay for cybercrime, either directly or through pass-along costs from our financial institutions,” said Adam Palmer, Norton lead cyber security advisor, in the statement. “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.”