More than one-and-a-half million adults become victims of cyber crime each day on a global level. Cyber criminals follow users and increasingly focus on the social media to find their next victim.
Norton Cyber crime, one of the world’s largest consumer cybercrime organisations, which disclosed the shocking figures in its 2012 report, estimated the direct costs associated with global consumer cyber crime to be an astonishing $110 Billion over the past twelve months.
“Cyber criminals are busy switching tactics to target rapidly growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks,” says Marian Merritt, Norton’s internet security champion.
Cyber crime includes traditional crimes, conducted through the internet. For example: hate crimes, telemarketing and internet fraud, identity theft, and credit card account thefts are considered to be cyber crimes, where the illegal activities are committed through the use of a computer and the internet.
With losses totaling an average of $197 per victim across the world in direct financial costs, cyber crime costs consumers more than a week’s worth of nutritious food necessities for a family of four.
The report said in the past twelve months, an estimated 556 million adults across the world experienced cyber crime, which more than the entire population of the European Union. This figure represents a flabbergasting 46 percent of online adults who have been victims of cyber crime in the past twelve months, on par with the findings from 2011 (45 percent).
According to the report, there has been an increase in “new” forms of cyber crime due to social networks. Most internet users take basic steps to protect themselves – such as deleting suspicious e-mail messages and taking care when providing personal details online, according to the report.
In addition, this year’s report also indicates that many online adults are unaware as to how some of the most common forms of cybercrime have evolved over the years and thus, have a difficult time recognizing how malware viruses function on their computers.
“In fact, 40 percent of adults do not know that malware can operate in a discreet fashion, making it hard to know if a computer has been compromised, and more than half (55 percent) are not certain that their computer is currently clean and free of viruses,” the report states.
Adam Palmer, Norton’s chief adviser on cyber security, says personal e-mail accounts often contain the key to your online “kingdom”.
Not only can criminals gain access to everything in your in-basket, but they can also alter your password for any other website by clicking the “forgotten password” link, intercepting the e-mail and can lock you out of your own account. Protect your e-mail by using complex passwords and do change them regularly, they advise.