September 14, 2011

Global cybercrime costs USD 114 billion annually - study

Thursday 8 September 2011 | 03:50 PM CET

Global cybercrime costs USD 114 billion annually, a recent survey has revealed. Based on the financial losses and the time lost due to cybercrime experiences, an additional USD 274 billion was lost in 2010. Thus, the total cost of cybercrime is USD 338 billion annually, overtaking the losses caused by the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined (USD 288 billion).

According to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 carried out by the US security software designer for computers Symantec, 431 million adult victims have fallen prey to cybercrime globally in 2010.

The report points out that more than two thirds of online adults (69 percent) have been victims of cybercrime in their lifetime. Compared to the findings of the 2010 survey, cybercrime has witnessed a 3 percent increase. Moreover, every second, 14 adults become victims of cybercrime, resulting in more than 1 million cybercrime victims every day.

When it comes to the most common victims of cybercrime, 80 percent of the surveyed adults in emerging markets (Brazil, India, China, Poland, Mexico, UAE) have fallen prey to cybercrime as compared to 64 percent victims in the developed markets (UK, US, France, Germany, Italy, Australia, Canada, Sweden, Japan, Spain, Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium). 79 percent of high level internet users (49 hours/week) have been victims of cybercrime as compared to 64 percent of adults spending online 1 -24 hours/week.

According to the study, computer viruses and malware attacks are more prevalent when it comes to cybercrime. Viruses are followed by online scams (11 percent) and phishing messages (10 percent). 54 percent of the respondents have experienced viruses or malware on their computers. 74 percent of respondents have indicated that they are always aware of cybercrime, yet they are not taking the necessary precautions. Therefore, 4 in 10 adults do not have an up-to-date security software suite to protect their personal information online. Additionally, less than half respondents review credit card statements regularly for fraud (47 percent) and 61 percent do not use complex passwords or change them regularly. Among those who access the internet via their mobile phone, 16 percent install the most up to date mobile security.

As far as geographical distribution is concerned, the computer virus and malware crime capitals within the group of cities included in the study are: Mexico (71 percent), Brazil and China (68 percent) and South Africa (65 percent).

The report indicates that 10 percent of adults online have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phone. According to Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, Volume 16, there were 42 percent more mobile vulnerabilities in 2010 compared to 2009. The study identifies men between 18 and 31 years old who access the internet from their mobile phone as even more likely victims. In this group, 4 in 5 (80 percent) have fallen prey to cybercrime in their lifetime.

The survey has been conducted between February and March 2011 and includes 19,636 people from 24 countries (Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, UK, US, Belgium, Denmark, Holland, Hong Kong, Mexico, South Africa, Singapore, Poland, Switzerland, UAE).The financial cost of cybercrime in 2010 is calculated as follows: the number of victims in 2010 (per country) x average financial cost of cybercrime (per country in US currency).

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