Hackers fleeced more than $2.3 billion from Australian consumers last year with more than six million people falling victim to cybercrime.
The 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights report, released today, said that 26 per cent of the adult population had fallen victim, which was a 13 per cent increase from 2016. Each person lost an average of $195 and spent two days (16.2 hours) dealing with cybercrime, a 24 per cent increase in time.
Globally, cybercrime victims share a similar profile – they are everyday consumers who use multiple devices whether at home or on the go, but have a blind spot when it comes to cyber security basics. This group tends to use the same password across multiple accounts or share it with others. Almost one third (29 percent) of victims, despite their experience, had a higher trust in their own ability to protect their data and personal information from future attacks, Norton said.
“Consumers actions revealed a dangerous disconnect,” said Mark Gorrie, territory manager, Norton Business Unit, Symantec Pacific Region. “Despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported to media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves.”
He said that although Australia’s mandatory data breach notification laws – due to come into effect later this month – provide greater transparency, it’s never been more important for consumers to consider their security habits.
Almost half (44 per cent) of respondents admitted to practicing poor security hygiene by sharing their password with others, a 20 per cent on 2016. Of those who shared their passwords, 51 per cent reported to have experienced cybercrime.
Meanwhile, most consumers (88 per cent) believe cybercrime should be treated as a criminal act but when pressed, contradictions emerged, Norton said. One in five believed stealing information online was not as bad a stealing property in real life.
More than one-third (37 per cent) of respondents believed at least one type of cybercrime was sometimes acceptable such as reading someone’s emails (24 per cent), using a false photo to identify themselves (16 per cent). Unbelievably, 12 per cent believed accessing someone’s financial accounts without their permission was acceptable.
Follow Byron Connolly on Twitter: @ByronConnolly