$158 Billion Lost To Cyber Crime In The Year 2015. And What To Do About It
More than half of U.S. consumers think that storing their credit and banking information in the cloud is more risky than driving without a seat belt, according to a new report from Symantec. Those consumers are correct, and the other half of them need to change their thinking – or their wallets may take a hit. The Symantec report states that consumers globally lost $158 billion to cyber crime in the past year. In the U.S. alone, the figure is nearly $30 billion.
Director of the FBI, James Comey, called the Internet, “the most dangerous parking lot imaginable,” and warned people to be just as aware of scams, compromised websites, malware and other threats as they would be of a physical theft.
Symantec, the world’s largest security software company, advises consumers to ‘go boldly, not blindly’ onto the Internet. The company has opened up a lot of eyes to the cyber risks and consequences facing consumers globally in its 2016 Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report.
The Norton report examines consumers’ online behaviors, attitudes and security habits alongside the dangers and financial cost of cybercrime. A truly global take on online crime and the emotional toll it takes on consumers, the report surveyed 17,000 people across 17 countries.
Some facts and figures from the Norton report that will heighten your own awareness:
- Last year, 594 million people worldwide were victims of online crime.
- Consumers who have been the victim of cyber crime lost an average of 21 hours over the past year dealing with the fallout, and nearly $358 on average per person, enough for a year of home security monitoring.
- And because so much of our business is conducted online—bill payments, shopping, and trading, for example—the inconvenience of dealing with the impact of having financial information compromised can be almost painful.
- 81% of people surveyed would feel devastated if their financial information (bank and credit card details) were compromised.
- 70% of U.S. consumers would rather cancel dinner plans with a best friend than have to cancel their debit/credit card. And 63% of them would rather go on a bad date than have to deal with customer service after a security breach.
- Consumers believe they act safely online, but in reality, most of what they do leaves them vulnerable to online crime.
- More than one-third (36%) of people who share passwords in the United States have shared the password to their banking account.
- Most consumers are failing the most basic requirement of online security. Of those using passwords, less than half of consumers “always” use a secure password. And one in three do not have a password on their smartphone or desktop computer at all.
The Norton report also recommends some safe computing practices to decrease your odds of being the victim of a cyber crime:
- Use unique, smart, secure passwords for all of your online accounts.
- Delete emails from senders you don’t know, and don’t click on suspicious file attachments.
- Don’t click on posts offering free trips or other items that sound too good to be true.
- Monitor your financial accounts for suspicious activity including small “test” amounts often charged by cyber criminals.
- Don’t put off updating your software. Those updates often contain important patches for dangerous security holes that cyber criminals could use to access your device.
- Use a secure backup solution to protect your files and backup regularly so criminals can’t hold them for ransom.