Home Three Quarters of U.S. Internet Users Fall Victim to Cybercrime

Three Quarters of U.S. Internet Users Fall Victim to Cybercrime

Chances are, if you use the Internet, you are going to get hacked – it’s that simple. The New York Times told us yesterday that even a strong password may not protect us and now, today, a study by security software maker Norton tells us that cybercrime is prevalent, with a majority of Internet users both worldwide and in the U.S. falling victim.

Of course, Norton says that the obvious solution to this epidemic of crime is to use up-to-date security software (such as its own anti-virus and security suite), but the study also goes beyond self-promotion to look at our emotional reactions to hacking, getting hacked and who’s at fault in the end.

According to the report, nearly two-thirds of Internet users globally and almost three-quarters in the U.S. have fallen victim to cybercrime, with even worse numbers in China, where 83% of Internet users have been hacked. The report found that 58% of respondents felt angry, 51% annoyed, and 80% expected that those responsible would not be found or “brought to justice.” Only 3% of those surveyed said they didn’t think it would happen to them – so getting hacked is not only something we’ve come to expect, but, as Norton’s Internet safety advocate Marian Merritt told Network World, something we blame ourselves for.

“People do feel angry, but we also found that people feel pretty guilty,” said Merritt, noting that 54% of respondents said they “should have been more careful” when they responded to online scams. Twelve percent said that getting hacked was entirely their fault.

According to The Times, some of the fault lays at the feet of the security community and those sites that are most often targets, such as online commerce sites like Paypal and Amazon. One report (PDF) cited in the article found that many “busy commercial destinations” such as these “allowed relatively weak passwords,” while other sites required a maze of password requirements that also compromised security.

Beyond all of this, as ReadWriteWeb’s Adrianne Jeffries suggested the other day, a solution beyond antivirus and long, overcomplicated passwords might be the use of systems like OpenID.

For a quick look at Norton’s finding, the fact sheet (PDF) offers a glimpse of stats both in the U.S. and worldwide. The report is released concurrent with today’s release of Norton Internet Security 2011.

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