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Study: Majority Of Consumers Have Been Cybercrime Victims

Nearly 80 percent believe attackers will never be brought to justice

Nearly two-thirds of computer users across the globe have been victims of cybercrime, and nearly 80 percent believe their attackers will never be brought to justice.

Those are two of the statistics brought forth in Symantec's Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact, which was published earlier this week. The report aims to identify some of consumers' attitudes toward cybercrime, asking questions about what's being done to users -- and what they're doing themselves.

Only 3 percent of the Norton survey respondents do not expect to become victims of cybercrime at some point. Only 9 percent say they feel "very safe" online.

While consumers generally appear fatalistic about online crime, they aren't happy about it. Fifty-eight percent described themselves as "angry" about the state of cybercrime, and 51 percent said they were "annoyed." Forty percent also described themselves as feeling "cheated."

The cybercrimes suffered ranged across the board, with virus/malware infection being the most common (51 percent). The average cost of resolving a cybercrime incident was estimated at $334 and took about 28 days. Nearly one-third of cybercrime victims said their cybercrime was never resolved.

While most consumers have fallen victim to cybercrime, many also admitted to fudging the truth online themselves. Forty-five percent of respondents said they have lied about their personal details online; 33 percent said they have used a fake ID. Twenty-two percent said they have regrets about their online behavior.

"So while we're besieged by online cybercrime, we often engage in forms of online theft, misrepresentation, defacement, and simple lying without recognizing our own hypocrisy," says Marian Merritt, Norton's Internet safety advocate, in her blog. "We are complicated beasts, aren't we?"

Merritt encourages users not to give up hope that the cybercrime situation can change. "We can pay attention to cybercrime around us and report it diligently to appropriate authorities," Merritt says. "Even when our local law enforcement tells us they lack resources or talent to investigate cybercrime, insist they take it on and file the report. This will help ensure that when your elected officials determine where to appropriate funds. They'll begin to see the true size of the cybercrime world and address it more effectively."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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