The Personal Impact of Cybercrime

used with permission from Norton by Symantec
by Christina Schubert

Fifty-one percent of people think that over the past five years it’s become harder to stay safe and secure online than in the real world. Yet, 689 million people in 21 countries experienced cybercrime within the last year alone. The reason for this staggering number is simple. Most people don’t take the right precautions to protect their digital lives. While some are unaware of online dangers others think it can be dealt with after it happens. The truth remains that cybercrime is evolving rapidly and impacting the daily and digital lives of people.

Revealed in a survey conducted last year, the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report explores consumers’ online behavior that leaves them vulnerable to threats.

What is the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report?

With new and emerging security threats developing every day, much has been written about the online crime landscape. The Norton Cyber Security Insights Report sets out to understand how consumers are personally impacted by cybercrime and puts a human face on the headlines dominating the news. This online survey of 20,907 consumers in 21 markets was commissioned by Norton by Symantec to give a global view of online crime and the toll it takes on consumers. You can download the full report here.

Key findings

Here are a few facts and figures from the 2016 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report that will change the way you think about cyber security.

  • Forty percent of Millennials report having experienced cybercrime in the past year.
  • Nearly three in 10 people cannot detect a phishing attack.
  • Another 13 percent have to guess between a real message and a phishing email, meaning four in 10 are vulnerable.
  • Eighty-six percent of people said they may have experienced a phishing incident.
  • 7 in 10 consumers wish they could make their home Wi-Fi network more secure.
  • Yet only 27 percent believe it is likely their home Wi-Fi network could be compromised.

The Impact

Within the past year, cybercrime victims have spent $126 billion globally and lost 19.7 hours — the time it would take to fly from New York City to Los Angeles four times — dealing with cybercrime.

The number of connected devices has exponentially grown in the last year and there is a constant need to be connected. In fact, people are willing to engage in risky online behavior in order to simply access Wi-Fi.

People are also known to share their passwords with friends, access financial information via unsecured Wi-Fi connections and click on suspicious links thereby increasing the vulnerability of their connected devices. Eighty percent of the consumers who took a compromising action in response to a potential phishing incident experienced negative consequences, including identify theft, money stolen from bank accounts, credit cards opened in their name and unauthorized apps installed on their device.


The findings from the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report reveal that despite having the resources and information to protect themselves, consumers continue to engage in unsafe online practices. By adopting a few basic behaviors, consumers can make big strides in mitigating cybercrime risk. Consider these behaviors to be a part of your daily routine like brushing your teeth or wearing a seatbelt.

  • Avoid password promiscuity: Protect your accounts with strong, unique passwords that use a combination of at least 10 upper and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers to help keep the bad guys at bay. Make it difficult for attackers to access your information by changing your passwords every three months and not reusing passwords for multiple accounts. That way, if a cybercriminal gets your password, they can’t compromise all of your accounts. And if it’s too overwhelming to keep up this practice, use a password manager to help!
  • Don’t go on a phishing expedition: Think twice before opening unsolicited messages or attachments, particularly from people you don’t know, or clicking on random links. The message may be from a cybercriminal who has compromised your friend or family member’s email or social media accounts.
  • Don’t keep a (dis)connected home: When installing a new network-connected device, such as a router or smart thermostat, remember to change the default password. If you don’t plan on using the Internet feature(s), such as with smart appliances, disable or protect remote access when not needed. Also, protect your wireless connections with strong Wi-Fi encryption so no one can easily view the data traveling between your devices.
  • Be in control when online: Entrust your devices to security software to help protect you against the latest threats. Protect all your devices with a robust, multi- platform solution, like Norton Security.
  • Know the ins and out of public Wi-Fi networks: Accessing personal information on unprotected public Wi-Fi is like broadcasting your entire screen on TV — everything you do on a website or through an app, could potentially be exposed. Avoid anything that involves sharing your personal information (paying a bill online, logging in to social media accounts, paying for anything with a credit card, etc.).