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Users Believe Using Public Wi-Fi Riskier than Using a Public Restroom

With the Internet threat landscape rapidly growing, online crime has become a fact of life. While we read about breaches and identity theft every day in our news outlets, we wanted to better understand Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report how you, the consumer, are impacted on a more human level. The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report captures how consumers perceive and react to online transactions and threats prevalent on the Internet today.

What is the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report?

The purpose of the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report is to examine human behavior online and the related impacts to consumers  emotionally. We surveyed 17,125 people across seventeen markets around the world, and the results are staggering. You can download the full report here to see all of the findings, however, here a few highlights:

Key Findings:

  • 593,752,900 people have been victims of online crime in the past year
  • Almost twice as many consumers around the world think it is more likely their credit card information will be stolen online than from their wallets
  • In reality, most of us are failing the most basic test of online security: Passwords 101

Emotional Impact
Through the responses of this survey, we learned that annoyance, concern and frustration is quite prevalent amongst users, and with good cause. Globally, 60% of those surveyed believe that using public Wi-Fi is riskier than using a public restroom, and 80% feel the chance of being a victim of online crime is significant enough to worry about.

In addition to fear, there is a huge perception of inconvenience. Fifty-one percent of people would rather cancel dinner plans with a best friend than have to deal with canceling their debit or credit card. What’s worse, in the U.S. 63% would rather go on a bad date than have to deal with customer service after a security breach. Thirty-one percent of people believe the consequences of dealing with a stolen identity are more stressful than sitting next to a screaming child on a plane
and, with good reason, 41% of online crime victims report being “furious” after experiencing an online crime.  These statistics go to show that cybercrime has a real emotional cost. 81% of those surveyed would feel devastated if their personal financial information was compromised.

Financial Impact

Of the 17 countries surveyed, there was a total estimated $150 billion loss due to cybercrime. 
In addition to the financial hardship that cybercrime brings, cybercrime has costs that go beyond finances. Consumers lost an average of 21hours each over the past year, dealing with remediating issues due to online crime.

Millenials vs. Baby Boomers

Although they didn’t grow up in the digital age, they certainly helped initiate the technology movement.  Baby Boomers are much savvier than expected: While 40% of all US consumers feel older generations are most vulnerable to online crime, this group actually reports safer online behavior than Millenials. They are the least likely to share passwords, and the most likely to use secure passwords. As a result, only 26% of U.S. Baby Boomers have experienced online crime in the past year.

We found it interesting that Millennials are most likely to throw caution to the wind. While they work, conduct business and socialize online, 44% percent of U.S. Millennials have been victims of online crime in the last year. As a result of this lax approach to security, 56% of Millennials globally have experienced online crime personally.


We’re always looking for ways to take a step toward empowering and protecting consumers. Our hope is that the findings from the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report will move people from general awareness of these threats to a clearer sense of what's at risk and why they should care.

There has been a longstanding attitude about privacy that people think they’re not doing anything wrong, so what do theyhave to hide? The answer is everything. Privacy is not about concealing your actions from the world, it’s about concealing your identity. If we want to be able to take full advantage of our amazing digital, interconnected world, we need to better secure our devices and our information. Comprehensive Internet security programs such as Norton Security can protect us - to a point. However, when coupled with a strong cybersecurity education you can boldly go wherever you want the Internet to take you.