Cybercrime: 8.8m SAfricans victim in 2015

Johannesburg - New research unveiled on Wednesday by antivirus software maker Norton - a Symantec brand - has revealed that 8.8 million South Africans were the victim of cyber crime in the past year, at a cost of R35 billion.

The Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report shows that this is despite growing concerns over online crime.

Norton’s report contains the views of more than 18 000 consumers across 18 markets, including about 1 000 across South Africa.

“The good news is more and more consumers are aware of the risks of cybercrime but the bad news is they neither feel they are doing enough to prevent it, or feel that technology has prevented them from being able to do anything about it,” says David Ribeiro, Head of Norton, Middle East and Africa. “Despite personal experience, many South Africans continue to put themselves at risk when it comes to online activity.”

Other findings include:

- 76 percent of South Africans believe that identity theft is more likely than ever before;

- 67 percent feel it is more difficult to control their personal information as a result of smartphones and the Internet;

- 78 percent of South Africans acknowledge the need to actively protect their information, but there is still some notion that security is an inconvenience;

- 58 percent of South Africans would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after their account has been compromised;

- The same percentage would rather endure a terrible date than deal with credit/debit card customer service after a breach or hack.

Norton notes online crimes are increasingly prevalent with more than 1 in 7 people having had unauthorised access to a social network profile.

Read also: Audit firm launches lab to fight cybercrime

At risk

Compared to their global counterparts, South Africans have heightened sensitivity to online information compromises – 76 percent believed identity theft was more likely than ever before and 67 percent said it was easier to control personal information before smartphones and the Internet.

South Africans are more likely than their global counterparts to consider themselves tech savvy. Despite this, South African millennials are less likely to take personal responsibility for their security - nearly 1 in 3 millennials admits to abandoning an account rather than deleting it simply because it was easier.

Read also: Crooks are selling access to your firm’s hacked servers

Millennials and Generation Xers are equally likely to have been victims within the last year at a staggering 39 percent and 37 percent respectively. However, only 2 percent of South Africans aged 55 and over experienced cybercrime during this period.

Other findings

Other findings from the report include:

- Nearly 1 in 5 people do not have a password on his/her smartphone or desktop computer;

- 6 in 10 consumers say it is riskier to share their email passwords with a friend than lend him/her their car for a day;

- Storing credit/banking information in the cloud is viewed as riskier than not wearing a seatbelt;

- South Africans are more likely to own internet-enabled devices than their global counterparts; smartphones and laptops being most common;

- Though most devices are protected, South Africans falter when it comes to protecting home theatre devices, wearables, and Internet-connected video game systems;

- Devices considered easiest to hack are among the most frequently used, such as a smartphones and laptops.

Too much hassle to be careful 

The research has shown that although there is considerable interest and fear in cybercrime, South Africans consider security measures to be a hassle.

- More than 1 in 3 South Africans admit to password sharing with email account passwords most shared;

- Nearly 7 in 10 change their passwords after they’ve been compromised… meaning nearly a third don’t (32 percent);

- Over half check their accounts after a breach has been announced by the media;

- While nearly half of South African password users always use one that is secure, 1 in 5 still only does so when required;

- Dealing with the consequences of a stolen identity is considered more stressful than many everyday inconveniences.



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