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Norton Report Finds Higher Cybercrime Costs per Victim, Social Stressors and Blurred Lines

This is big. The 4th annual, global research effort known as The Norton Report (previously known as the Norton Cybercrime Report) has been released.  While we found that the global cost of cybercrime only grew a small amount (to $113 billion), the number of victims actually went down. Fewer victims may seem like a positive trend but unfortunately this is explained by a 50% increase in the per person cost of cybercrime. And this trend is fully consistent with the findings in the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, that cybercriminals are using more carefully targeted and increasingly social forms of threats. Additionally, fewer mobile device users are choosing to engage in even the most basic safety measures in comparison with their behavior on desktops and laptops. As we go increasingly mobile, we must up our game in protecting our online selves. (See the chart at right)

There is no other similar large-scale study of the scope and impact of consumer cybercrime. We surveyed an astonishing 13,022 online adults in 24 countries around the globe. The respondents were able to self-report their experiences with cybercrime, not simply from being exposed to things such as dangerous email links but for actually clicking on them or losing money from online fraud. And the cost they suffered in the course of dealing with cybercrime is expressed by the victims themselves. 

Other interesting findings were that as a group, males are at a higher risk for being victims than women. And millennials are at greater cybercrime risk than boomers. This may be possibly connected to spending more time online, friending more strangers in social networks or more actively using mobile technology.

We also found that our increasingly mobile and constantly connected lives are a source of stress. We’ve got those phones within arm’s reach while we sleep (no wonder ¼ of us check our social networks within 15 minutes of waking up.) We’re taking the phones with us wherever we go (almost half would be upset to leave it at home), using it at the table while dining with others (one out of four) and annoying everyone else (60% are annoyed when their friends check phones at the table). Maybe we should also stop taking photos of our food but that wasn’t in the questionnaire.

Finally, we also found that lots of working folks have blurred the lines between the office and home when it comes to using their devices (reflecting the whole BYOD to work conundrum) and storing their personal and work information. Is there a work policy about this issue? Increasingly unclear with 36% of our respondents saying there isn’t a policy to guide them. I think I was particularly surprised by some of the behavior regarding company work being stored in the cloud. Apparently people think it’s ok to show off their stored work product with friends (18%) and family (21%). “Hey Mom, let me show you the new marketing plan I’m working on.” Not a good idea, folks.

You’ll certainly want to visit our website to learn more about the study, look at how your country fared or your particular age group. If you have any questions, be sure to post in the comments area below. Meanwhile, be sure to add a password to all your personal devices; install a good security solution and anti-theft/recovery app; be cautious about sharing work materials with friends and family, and take a break from texting at the dinner table. Your loved ones will thank you!