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Cybercrime costs UAE $422 million

Dubai, October 7, 2012

More than 1.5 million people in the UAE fell victim to cybercrime in the past twelve months, costing the country $422 million, a report said.

With findings based on self-reported experiences of more than 13,000 adults across 24 countries, the 2012 edition of the Norton Cybercrime Report calculates the direct costs associated with global consumer cybercrime at $110 billion over the past twelve months.

Every second, 18 adults become a victim of cybercrime, resulting in more than one-and-a-half million cybercrime victims each day on a global level, the report said.

With losses totaling an average of $197 per victim across the world in direct financial costs, cybercrime costs consumers more than a week’s worth of nutritious food necessities for a family of four.

In the past twelve months, an estimated 556 million adults across the world experienced cybercrime, more than the entire population of the European Union.

This figure represents 46 per cent of online adults who have been victims of cybercrime in the past twelve months, on par with the findings from 2011 (45 per cent).

In the UAE, 46 per cent of the country’s social networking users have fallen victim to cybercrime on social networking platforms. Of the social networking users, 31 per cent adults have been a victim of social or mobile cybercrime in the past twelve months in the UAE compared to the 21 per cent globally.

Changing face of cybercrime

This year’s survey shows an increase in “new” forms of cybercrime compared to last year, such as those found on social networks or mobile devices - a sign that cybercriminals are starting to focus their efforts on these increasingly popular platforms.

One in five online adults (21 per cent) has been a victim of either social or mobile cybercrime, and 39 per cent of social network users have been victims of social cybercrime, specifically:

•    Fifteen per cent of social network users reported someone had hacked into their profile and pretended to be them.

•    One in 10 social network users said they’d fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms.

•    While 75 per cent believe that cybercriminals are setting their sights on social networks, less than half (44 per cent) actually use a security solution which protects them from social network threats and only 49 per cent use the privacy settings to control what information they share, and with whom.

•    Nearly one-third (31 per cent) of mobile users received a text message from someone they didn’t know requesting that they click on an embedded link or dial an unknown number to retrieve a “voicemail”

“Cybercriminals are changing their tactics to target fast growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks,” said Marian Merritt, Norton Internet safety advocate.

“This mirrors what we saw in this year’s Symantec Internet Security Threat Report which reported nearly twice the mobile vulnerabilities in 2011from the year before.”

The 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report also reveals that most Internet users take the basic steps to protect themselves and their personal information - such as deleting suspicious emails and being careful with their personal details online.

In addition, 40 per cent of adults do not know that malware can operate in a discreet fashion, making it hard to know if a computer has been compromised, and more than half (55 per cent) are not certain that their computer is currently clean and free of viruses.

“Malware and viruses used to wreak obvious havoc on your computer,” Merritt said.

“You’d get a blue screen, or your computer would crash, alerting you to an infection. But cybercriminals’ methods have evolved; they want to avoid detection as long as possible. This year’s results show that nearly half of Internet users believe that unless their computer crashes or malfunctions, they’re not 100 per cent sure they’ve fallen victim to such an attack,” Merritt added.

Strong email passwords still key

More than a quarter (27 percent) of online adults report having been notified to change their password for a compromised email account.

With people sending, receiving, and storing everything from personal photos (50 per cent) to work-related correspondence and documents (42 per cent) to bank statements (22 per cent) and passwords for other online accounts (17 per cent), those email accounts can be a potential gateway for criminals looking for personal and corporate information.

“Personal email accounts often contain the keys to your online kingdom. Not only can criminals gain access to everything in your inbox, they can also reset your passwords for any other online site you may use by clicking the ‘forgot your password’ link, intercepting those emails and effectively locking you out of your own accounts,” said Adam Palmer, Norton Lead Cybersecurity advisor.

“Protect your email accordingly by using complex passwords and changing them regularly.”  – TradeArabia News Service

Tags: UAE | Internet | Malware | Computer | Cybercrime |

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