Hackers stole $172 bn. from nearly one billion consumers in 2017


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Hackers were responsible for incurring $172 billion worth of damages to 978 million consumers in 20 countries in the past year. That’s according to the 2017 Norton Cyber Security insights Report which suggests many people are overconfident about their own cybersecurity habits.

How confident are you in your cybersecurity?

Norton researchers surveyed 21,549 individuals ages 18+ across 20 markets about their cybersecurity experience and whether or not they were victims of cybercrime. In the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, a cybercrime is defined as, but not limited to, a number of specific actions, including identity theft, credit card fraud or having your account password compromised.

Based on their reply, the researchers estimate 143 million American consumers were victims of cybercrime – more than half the U.S. adult online population. In the United States alone, damages totaled $19.4 billion and each victim lost an average of nearly 20 hours dealing with the aftermath.

The typical cybercrime victim is an everyday consumer who uses multiple devices whether at home or on the go, but tends to use the same password across multiple accounts or share it with others.

The technique which extorted the most money from consumers was malware — including things like ransomware and cryptojacking — followed by fraud and password theft.

Perhaps the most revealing finding from the report is the disconcerting attitude consumers have in the face of cybercrime, even when after they fell victims to it. About 33 percent of victims thought it wouldn’t happen to them, and a staggering 39 percent of global cybercrime victims, despite their experience, were confident in their ability to protect their data and personal information from future attacks.

“Consumers’ actions revealed a dangerous disconnect: Despite a steady stream of cybercrime sprees reported by media, too many people appear to feel invincible and skip taking even basic precautions to protect themselves,” said Fran Rosch, executive vice president at Symantec, in a statement.

“This disconnect highlights the need for consumer digital safety and the urgency for consumers to get back to basics when it comes to doing their part to prevent cybercrime.”

Despite experiencing a cybercrime within the past year, nearly a quarter of victims in the U.S. used the same online password across all accounts and 60 percent shared their passwords for at least one device or account with others, negating security efforts. By comparison, only 17 percent of non-cybercrime victims reuse passwords and 37 percent share their passwords with others.

So, do yourself a favor — saving money, time, and a lot of headache in the process — and wise up. Don’t use the same password twice and change them regularly.

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