Nearly 556 million people around the world have fallen victim to cybercrimes such as computers viruses or email scams over the last twelve months, claimed the latest Norton Cybercrime Report by Symantec on Wednesday, with an average victim believed to be spending over $197 in order to remedy the problem.
The annual study, which aims to understand how cybercrime affects consumers, found that nearly one-and-a-half million people were being affected by cybercrimes daily, while 46 percent of all adults online were victims of cybercrime in the past twelve months.
Additionally, the study said that there had been an increase in “new” forms of cybercrime – namely those found on social networks or mobile devices – with 44 percent of online users unaware that security solutions for mobile phones existed.
“Cybercriminals are changing their tactics to target fast growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks,” said Marian Merritt, a Norton Internet Safety Advocate and a co-author of the report.
“This mirrors what we saw in this year’s Symantec Internet Security Threat Report, which reported nearly twice the mobile vulnerabilities in 2011 from the year before.”
In all, about 85 percent of the cybercrimes have involved fraud, repairs, theft or loss. Chinese consumers spent the most on handling cybercrimes in the last year at $46 billion, while the U.S. incurred $21 billion and Europe a further $16 billion.
A recent article by American economist, and former chief economist of the IMF, Kenneth Rogoff suggested that the next economic disaster could be a result of a cyber crisis.
The global economy is vulnerable to a cyber-attack on a massive scale, says Rogoff, adding that the “parallels between financial crises and the threat of cyber meltdowns are striking.”
“We are told not to worry about large-scale cyber meltdowns, because none has occurred, and governments are being vigilant. Unfortunately, another lesson of the financial crisis is that most politicians are congenitally incapable of making difficult choices until risks actually materialize. Let us hope that we are lucky for a while longer,” he adds.