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Symantec: Two-third of web surfers victims of cybercrime

In a cybercrime survey of internet users in 14 countries, researchers found that 65 percent of internet users have already been victims of cyber crime.

According to a latest research released Wednesday, close to two-third of internet users worldwide have been victims of online crime.

The tally of such web victims is higher in the United States where 73 percent of the web surfers reported to have been afflicted with computer viruses, identity theft, online credit card fraud or other crimes.

The study titled 'Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact' also reveals that China tops the charts when it came to online frauds, with whopping 83 percent of internet users having become victims of internet fraud.

Brazil and India shared the second spot with a 76 percent internet crime rate reported from these countries.

The study conducted by Symantec consumer division Norton spanned 14 countries. More than 7,000 adults were interviewed for the purpose of the study.

Cyber crime must be reported
Surprisingly, only 44 percent of the victims approached the police. The others felt that nothing worthwhile will come out after reporting the matter.

"But everyone can take simple steps, such as having up-to-date, comprehensive security software in place. In the case of online crime, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure," added Collier.

According to Joseph LaBrie, an associate professor of psychology at Loyola Marymount University, people tend to avoid reporting cybercrime partly due to "learned helplessness."

"It's like getting ripped off at a garage - if you don't know enough about cars, you don't argue with the mechanic. People just accept a situation, even if it feels bad," LaBrie said.

"Cybercriminals purposely steal small amounts to remain undetected, but all of these add up," said Adam Palmer, Norton lead cyber security advisor, suggesting that one should always report a cybercrime, howsoever small.

"If you fail to report a loss, you may actually be helping the criminal stay under the radar," noted Palmer.

Other findings
Another interesting revelation of the study was that in addition to feeling angry, victims of cyber crime also felt pretty guilty.

"54 percent said they should have been more careful, when they responded to online scams," reported the study.

The study found that, on average, it took 28 days to resolve a cybercrime. The cost of resolution came to $334, the report found.

The study also revealed that computer viruses and malware are the commonest form of online attacks with 51 percent of the web surfers being impacted by them.

Ten percent of the surfers are hit by "online scams" and another 9 percent by phishing.

Seven percent of the surfers were impacted by social network profile hacking, online credit card fraud and sexual predation.

"People resist protecting themselves and their computers because they think it's too complicated," said Anne Collier, co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a US non-profit group that collaborated with Norton on the study.

"But everyone can take simple steps, such as having up-to-date, comprehensive security software in place. In the case of online crime, an ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure," added Collier.