Norton by Symantec (NASDAQ: SYMC) today released its findings from the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report revealing more than 12 million British people have experienced cybercrime in the past year. Over the last year, UK consumers’ lost more than one working day (9 hours) dealing with the fallout from online crime and nearly £134 per person – totalling an estimated £1.6B across the nation[i].
Surveying more than 1,000 consumers in the UK the research sheds a light on the global impact of consumer cybercrime, showing:
- Two in five (44 percent) UK consumers have been subject to cybercrime in their lifetime, one in five (22 percent) in the last year
- UK consumers see foreign countries and governments as the major culprits of online crime, with UK consumers even more likely than the global average to blame them. 45 percent of UK respondents pointed the finger at foreign governments compared to 35 percent globally. One in ten Brits think the primary culprits are smart kids just doing it for the fun of it
- Two of every five Brits (42 percent) don’t take the time to change their account passwords after a security compromise or break. Among those who experienced cybercrime in the past year, over 1 in 10 UK victims indicate their identity was stolen
- Among those who experienced cybercrime in the past year, 1 in 7 UK victims have had their financial information stolen as a result of shopping online
- Of those who have experienced cybercrime in the last year, nearly one in six (15 percent) were affected by ransomware, a form of digital extortion. Despite paying the ransom, nearly one in twelve ransomware victims never received their digital assets and files back
“We no longer need convincing of the risks,” said Nick Shaw, EMEA General Manager, Norton Business Unit. “Our findings demonstrate that people’s trust in online activity has been rattled, yet there still is not widespread adoption of simple protection measures that people should take to safeguard their information online.”
“Now more than ever, online crime is always personal. What’s concerning is that fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in their attacks, using people’s individual data to target victims while hiding behind a cloak of anonymity,” commented Tony Neate, CEO, Get Safe Online. “Our mantra at Get Safe Online is ‘don’t be a victim’. That means putting the right guidance in place so you know how to protect yourselves and your family against online crime. Things like making sure you never use the same passwords for all of your online accounts, keeping your anti-virus software up-to-date and reporting anything suspicious. By doing this, we can hopefully stop people worrying about online crime, and instead empower them.”
The Generational Divide
Although 41 percent of Brits believe Baby Boomers, a group often considered less tech savvy, stand the highest chance of experiencing cybercrime, the report in fact shows that Millennials, born in a digital era, are more likely to experience cybercrime. Almost a third (31 percent) of British Millennials have experienced online crime in the past year compared to only 15 percent of Boomers. One potential explanation is Boomers’ safer online habits; Millennials report riskier behaviour and security practices compared to other age groups.
- Millennials, as an example, are twice as likely to share their passwords (32 percent) compared to Boomers (13 percent)
- Of those using passwords, 49 percent of Boomers always use a secure password across their online accounts – a combination of at least eight letters, numbers and symbols – compared to only 44 percent of Generation-Xers and 33 percent of Millennials
- On average people share their password for two accounts, most frequently their email, which is known to typically be used as a password reset contact for other accounts
- A third (35 percent) of Millennials admit they have abandoned an account rather than close it because it was easier. Boomers, on the other hand, are more likely to take the actions necessary to close their accounts (only 12 percent admit to having abandoned accounts)
- Over one in three Millennials in the UK feel security breaches have become so frequent they no longer have real consequences (37 percent), compared with 25 percent of Boomers
- One in five (22 percent) Millennials say the chance they will be an online crime victim is so low they do not worry about it, compared to only 13 percent of Boomers
Concerns are growing
Concern about online crime is widespread, with many feeling more at risk than they ever have before. Over four in five of the respondents reported being concerned about falling victim to cybercrime and only one in ten feel like they have control of their online security.
Four in five of Boomers believe identity theft is more likely than ever before, compared to 66 percent of Millennials. The older generation believes smartphones are partially to blame, with 77 percent of Boomers say it was easier to control personal information before smartphones and the internet. Millennials felt comparably more in control, with over 20 percent points fewer suggesting smartphones had made it more difficult.
In fact, with cybercrime becoming more pervasive, consumers’ concern of online risks is beginning to outweigh other risks:
- Nearly seven in ten (67 percent) say that having their information stolen after shopping online or through a retailer’s system is more likely than being stolen from their wallet
- More than half believe they are more likely to get bullied online (54 percent) than bullied at school or work (46 percent)
Yet, many don’t take basic action
Despite concern and awareness of cybercrime, consumers are overconfident in their online security behaviours. When asked to grade their security practices, they consistently award themselves a solid “A”. But in reality, most are not meeting the most basic tests of online security.
- Compared to the global average, passwords users in the UK are more likely to “always” use a secure password (42% vs. 38% globally), fueled by a cautious older generation.
- One in three do not have a password on their smartphone and only 54 percent of Boomers know how to update the privacy settings on their phones, compared to 87 percent of UK Millennials
- People are sharing passwords to sensitive online accounts with friends and family. One-quarter of those who share passwords admitted to sharing passwords for their online bank accounts, despite knowing this information is sensitive
- Ironically, two in three believe it is riskier to share their email password with a friend than lend them their car, yet half of those sharing passwords do just that
To learn more about the impact of cybercrime and how consumers can protect their digital information, view the full Norton Cyber Security Insights report here.
[i] Victims in UK over the past 12 months is calculated as follows: Victims = Online adults (according to the CIA Factbook) per country x percent cybercrime victims past 12 months per country