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NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report

Uncovering consumers’ cyber security and privacy concerns

This yearly report examines consumers’ online behaviors, attitudes and security habits, and the concerns and dangers associated with their online privacy and security.

2019 NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report

Consumers are proactively trying to protect their privacy but many feel it’s too late or even impossible to protect it


Uncover how many consumers were impacted by identity theft and cyber crime in the last year and their perceptions around privacy protections in the 2019 NortonLifeLock™ Cyber Safety Insights Report, which surveyed over 10,000 adults in Australia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, The Netherlands, New Zealand, United Kingdom and United States.

Almost 500 million consumers have been the victim of a cyber crime with nearly 350 million in the last year alone.

Two-thirds of consumers report being more alarmed than ever about their privacy (67%) and are very worried their identity will be stolen (66%), with 92% expressing at least some concern1 when it comes to data privacy.
 

Consumers are understandably concerned about their privacy and attempting to take action to protect it. Despite taking precautionary steps, many think it’s too late or even impossible to protect their privacy. 

 

1Respondents were asked to select up to 2 concerns. 

What are consumers doing to stay safe?

  Two in three (66%) have at times chosen not to download a certain app or use a specific service solely based on its privacy policy, and over a third (37%) have chosen not to purchase a smart home device due to privacy or security concerns.  

 

84% report having taken at least one step to protect their online activities and personal information, yet most are taking basic steps (clearing cookies, limiting information shared on social media) with fewer going to greater lengths such as using anonymous payment methods, deleting social media accounts, or using a VPN. 

infographic2 steps taken security

Despite this, over 6 in 10 think it is impossible to protect their privacy or that it is too late to do so because their information is already out there. Further, over half of adults globally (52%) believe that individuals should be held least responsible (compared to companies and the government) for ensuring their own information is protected. 

infographic global total graph

Who Do Consumers Trust to Protect their Personal Information and Data Online?

 

Globally, consumers expect government to bear the most responsibility for protecting personal information, despite a general lack of trust and confidence in them to do so.

Fewer consumers trust government than smart device manufacturers, financial institutions, internet service providers and retailers/online shopping sites when it comes to managing and protecting their personal information, and less than half (44%) believe their government is doing enough when it comes to data privacy and protecting personal information. Yet, more consumers believe that government should be held most responsible in doing so than the companies collecting the information or the individuals supplying it. ​ 

 

Consumers fault companies for not doing enough to protect personal information, making privacy policies vague and difficult to understand, and not providing choices. 

Much like the sentiments around government, less than half of consumers (43%) believe that companies are doing enough when it comes to data privacy and protecting personal information. And with regards to privacy policies, nearly all consumers (95%) admit they don’t always read them, most of whom say it’s because they are too confusing (73%) or they feel they have no choice but to accept them in order to use an app or service (78%). 

 

With emerging technologies, consumers encounter challenges and concerns with facial recognition. 

 

Consumers report some knowledge about facial recognition and where it’s currently being used. And while concerns exist, the majority support its use among law enforcement, schools, and even retailers. 
 

Most consumers say they have only heard the name (42%) or are somewhat familiar (37%) with facial recognition. While consumers overwhelmingly think businesses (87%) and government (86%) should be required to inform/report when or where they are using facial recognition, half or fewer believe it is currently being used in public spaces like airports, government buildings, or banks. 

Cyber criminals accessing or manipulating facial recognition data to steal their identity (39%) is consumers’ largest concern,with 62% agreeing that facial recognition will likely be abused  or misused in the coming year and 45% believing it will do more harm than good.

Despite these concerns, when presented with possible advantages and disadvantages of using facial recognition, most consumers would support the use among law enforcement (69%), schools (63%), and to a lesser extent retailers (54%), despite some of the risks. 

1Respondents were asked to select up to 2 concerns. 

Keep Up These Best Practices to Help Stay Safe

As consumers continue to seek ways to better protect themselves, it’s important to practice simple cyber safety measures:

 

Use strong passwords:
Don’t repeat your passwords on different sites. Make them complex and pick a random word that includes a combination of at least 10 letters, numbers, and symbols.

Keep your software updated:
Cyber criminals frequently use known exploits, or flaws, in your software to gain access to your devices. Patching those exploits and flaws on your computer, your phone and mobile apps, and other devices, can make it less likely that you’ll become a cyber crime target. 

Use a full-service internet security suite:
Invest in a security suite that offers real-time protection against existing and emerging malware including ransomware and viruses and helps protect your private and financial information when you go online.

Manage your social media settings:
Keep your personal and private information locked down. Social engineering cyber criminals can often get your personal information with just a few data points, so the less you share publicly, the better.

Strengthen your home network:
A VPN will help encrypt all traffic sent and received from your devices. If cyber criminals do manage to access your network, they will not be able to intercept the data being sent over your network.

Take measures to help protect yourself against identity theft:
Key ways to help prevent identity theft include using legitimate sites when shopping online, using a secure network, remaining on the lookout for devices attached to card readers or ATMs and keeping an eye on your credit card statements and credit reports. You should also take advantage of protection tools such as ID theft alerts and EMV chip debit/credit cards as an extra layer of protection.

How We Define Cyber Crime

The definition of cyber crime continues to evolve as avenues open up that allow cyber criminals to target consumers in new ways. Each year, we will evaluate current cyber crime trends and update the report’s methodology as needed, to ensure the NortonLifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report provides an accurate snapshot of the impact of cyber crime as it stands today. In the 2019 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report, a cyber crime is defined as having personally experienced a crime committed with devices over the Internet. This includes crimes where a computer is used to victimize an individual, such as by theft or fraud, and crimes that target other computers and connected devices to access the data on the device or that affect the device’s operation.
 

  • Detected malicious software (e.g., spyware, ransomware, viruses, worms, Trojan horses, adware, etc.) on a computer, Wi-Fi network, smartphone, tablet, smart home, or other connected device  
  • Provided personal information, financial information or money in response to a fraudulent email, text message or website
  • Learned your personal information was exposed in a data breach   
  • Discovered your personal information was stolen online and used without your permission
  • Been threatened with the release of sensitive personal photos, video or information that was stolen online
  • Detected unauthorized access to your home or personal Wi-Fi network
  • Detected unauthorized access on a social media account
  • Detected unauthorized access on an email account 
  • Detected unauthorized access on an online retail or shopping account
  • Detected unauthorized access on an online banking or other financial account
  • Detected unauthorized access on another online account
  • Been stalked, bullied or harassed online

2018 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report

Privacy concerns leave consumers wanting more control, but convenience overrules risk
 

See how 2018’s heightened attention around breaches and privacy may have influenced consumers’ behavior and understanding of privacy, security and identity theft in the 2018 Norton™ LifeLock™ Cyber Safety Insights Report, which surveyed more than 16,000 consumers in 16 countries.

2017 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report

Consumers’ Overconfidence Opens the Virtual Door for Cybercriminals
 

Uncover the discrepancies behind consumers’ perceived knowledge of cyber crime and their not-so-savvy online behaviors in the 2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, which surveyed more than 21,000 consumers globally in 20 countries.

2016 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report

We surveyed 20,907 adult device users in 21 countries to learn about their online behaviors, attitudes and security habits. See how they fared alongside the dangers and financial cost of cyber crime.

2015 Norton LifeLock Cyber Safety Insights Report

This report examines consumers' online behaviors, attitudes and security habits alongside the dangers and financial cost of cyber crime. A truly global take on online crime and the emotional toll it takes on consumers, the report surveyed 17,125 adult mobile device users across 17 countries.