This summer hacker groups like LulzSec and Anonymous caught the world’s attention with widespread attacks on corporations and governments. It’s only the beginning as more and more people turn to their computers, mobile devices and tablets to process financial transactions. A recent report by Symantec writes that cybercrime—which includes computer viruses and malware, hacked social networking profiles, online scams or credit card fraud, and smishing messages—costs $114 billion and affects 431 million adults a year. When the amount of time spent by victims is factored in, the damages rise to $388 billion a year, according to Norton’s Cybercrime Report 2011. Surveys were conducted by StrategyOne, an international research agency, with 19,636 people within 24 countries.
This chart shows the countries with the highest cost per resident each year, which includes direct cash lost and lost time.
“There’s a bit of cyber apathy,” says Lynn Hargrove, the director of consumer solutions with Symantec. “People still aren’t using up-to-date security software. People feel they’re going to be victimized, it’s just part of being on the Internet. And really that’s just kind of a frightening attitude.”
She stresses that cybercrime on mobile phones is the next frontier. The report shows that 10% of adults online experienced cybercrime through their cellphones. To protect yourself, she suggests password-protecting your phone and using security software that allows you to remotely lock or wipe your phone.