Authored by a Symantec employee
Cybercrime is on the rise in America, with more than 143 million Americans affected by cybercrime in 2017, according to the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report. Nearly 8 in 10 U.S. consumers surveyed reported themselves or someone they know being victimized,1 so it’s understandable that Americans are worried more about cybercrimes than other crimes.2
In its annual global survey of the cyber security landscape, the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report identified the top five common types of cybercrimes. Have you fallen victim to one? If so, you are not alone.
- Debit or credit card fraud
- Data breaches
- Compromised passwords
- Unauthorized email and social media access
In the U.S., 57 percent of people surveyed said they or someone they knew had a device (i.e., computer, tablet or smartphone) infected by a virus or other security threat. These malware-related cybercrimes could include having malware secretly downloaded to your computer when visiting a spoofed website or becoming the victim of ransomware.
Experiencing debit or credit card fraud was tied for the second most common type of cybercrime in the U.S., with 54 percent of people reporting they had been victimized. This type of cybercrime could include having your card number stolen if you enter it on a fake website or while on a public Wi-Fi network that a hacker is eavesdropping on.
Last year’s Equifax data breach, which affected more than 145 million people, may have raised awareness of identity theft for Americans. In the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, 54 percent of U.S. consumers surveyed reported having personal information involved in a data breach.
If enough of your personally identifiable information — such as Social Security number, birth date or home address — is now for sale on the Dark Web, cybercriminals could apply for credit cards in your name, rack up medical bills and ruin your credit.
Believe it or not, people do share passwords. Even if they aren’t shared, passwords aren’t always foolproof. Some 40 percent of Americans surveyed had their online account passwords compromised. Having a hard-to-guess, secure password is imperative if you use the Internet. If you practice poor habits, such as sharing passwords or using weak ones, you could become a target for a cybercriminal.
Some 40 percent of Norton Cyber Security Insights Report survey respondents in the U.S. encountered unauthorized access to or hacking of an email or social media account. This can happen if you forget to log out of an account on a shared device or someone maliciously hacks into your online account. Either way, having your email or social media account hacked could result in a cascade of cybercrimes, since it’s not unusual for these types of accounts to be linked to other online credentials.
Tips to help avoid cybercrime
- Malware: Install an Internet security suite on all your devices, including your PCs, Macs, tablets and smartphones.
- Debit or credit card fraud: Sign up for a credit monitoring service that can alert you to any unusual card activity.
- Data breaches: Sign up for an identity theft protection service that can monitor for and alert you to any suspicious activity, such as credit card applications using your personally identifiable information.
- Compromised passwords: Create strong, complicated passwords that are hard to crack. Use a combination of 10 numbers, upper and lowercase letters, and symbols — or consider using a password manager.
- Unauthorized email and social media access: The best defense for these types of accounts is also a strong password. Avoid the temptation to use the same password for each account, and then take the time to craft a super strong password. Remember, your email and social media accounts can be used as credentials to access your other accounts, so guard them carefully and never share.
To read the full Norton Cyber Security Insights Report 2017, visit https://us.norton.com/cyber-security-insights-2017.
Disclaimers and references:
For an explanation of how “cybercrime” was defined for the Norton Cyber Security Insights report, please read the “How we define cybercrime” section at https://us.norton.com/cyber-security-insights-2017.
1 Symantec, “Norton Cyber Security Insights Report 2017,” January 2017. Based on an online survey of 1,003 U.S. consumers commissioned by Norton by Symantec and produced by research firm Reputation Leaders.
2 Gallup Poll, “Cybercrime tops Americans’ crime worries,” November 6, 2017.
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