We don’t like cyber crime, but we feel powerless to do anything about it, so generally we don’t report it. And some of the things we do online are probably illegal too, but we feel as though we can get away with it.
Those conclusions come from Norton’s Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact, which surveyed 7000 adult online users in 14 countries worldwide.
Asked about their experience of cyber crime, 51% of respondents said they’ve had viruses or malware, 10% said they’ve responded to online scams, nine percent said they’ve responded to a phishing message thinking it was a legitimate request, seven percent said someone has hacked into their social networking profile, seven percent said they were approached online by sexual predators, seven percent said they have experienced online credit card fraud, six percent said they have experienced online harassment, and four percent said they have experienced identity theft.
When asked about the emotions they felt concerning cyber crime, the responses ranged from anger (58%) to fear (29%), helplessness (26%) and guilt (78%). Eighty percent of those questioned said they didn’t expect cyber criminals to be caught, because so many seem to operate in foreign countries and are able to cover their tracks. Also, it’s widely perceived that local police lack the resources to investigate such crimes.
When asked about their personal responsibility if a crime did happen to them, 54% of people said they should have been more careful when they responded to online scams, 41% said they should have been more careful when they experienced credit card fraud, and 12% said it was entirely their fault when they experienced identity theft.
But the survey also showed that many of us are not un-guilty of a little cyber crime ourselves. "The anonymous online world we live in enables many of us to engage in activities that would be clearly illegal if done in the physical world,” said Norton’s Internet Safety Advocate Marian Merritt, commenting on the report. Nearly half of respondents felt it "legal” to download a single music track, album or movie without paying. Thirty percent said they’d taken someone’s picture, then edited, emailed or posted it online without permission. One in four admitted secretly viewing the email or browser history of a spouse, child or colleague, and 17% thought that plagiarism was acceptable.
"We can influence change in our world of cyber crime,” Merritt concluded. "Each of us can recognise the choices we make online and seek to reduce our illegal or unethical actions. We can pay attention to cyber crime around us and report it diligently to appropriate authorities. We can promise to use internet security on every computer and device we connect to the internet. We can aspire to change our behaviour to reduce our online risks. And we’ll educate our family about cyber crime so they can learn to avoid it as well.”