Online crime costs Canadian consumers $20.3 Billion: Norton

Canadian consumers have grown complacent about cybercrime and even past victims of cybercrime continue to practice risky online behavior online like sharing passwords and falling for phishing attacks.

This is particularly notable given the recent DDoS attack powered by connected devices that shut down many popular websites. As we saw from coverage of the attack, a good amount of consumers never changed the default user names and passwords for their connected devices, making it easy for bad guys to orchestrate this type of attack again. 

Norton by Symantec has released the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, a global study that sheds light on consumer attitudes regarding cybercrime, including identity theft and phishing attacks. A few interesting Canadian findings:

  • Phishing scams are still commonly used by cybercriminals – 92 per cent of Canadians said they may have experienced a phishing incident.
  • One in 4 Canadians cannot detect a phishing attack with confidence, while another 15% have to guess between a real message and a phishing email, meaning 4 in 10 are vulnerable.
  • Consumers believe they are more at risk when entering financial information over public Wi-Fi than reading their credit card details aloud.
  • 26% of Canadians personally experienced cybercrime within the past year, compared to 31% of people globally. The most commonly experienced cybercrime in the Canada is credit card fraud.

Given the rampant rates of cybercrime the complacency in consumer behavior is concerning. Within the past year, 689 million people in 21 countries were victims of cybercrime, an increase of 10 per cent across the 17 countries that were measured in 2015.

Overconfidence in Connected Devices Leaves Consumers Vulnerable

With every connected home device purchase, consumers are unknowingly giving hackers a new avenue to launch attacks. In some instances, poor consumer security habits and vulnerabilities in connected devices are letting hackers into consumers’ homes.

  • One in five connected home device users don’t have any protective measures in place for their devices.
  • Over one third of Canadians (36 per cent) surveyed don’t believe there are enough connected device users for them to be a worthwhile target for hackers. Yet, just as hackers learned to benefit from targeting social media and financial accounts, they are on their way to learning how access to connected home devices can be lucrative.
  • Nearly six in 10 (57 per cent) consumers said they believe connected home devices were designed with online security in mind. However, according to Symantec research, in 2015, criminals compromised TVs, toys, refrigerators, doorbells and even medical devices. Symantec researchers also identified security vulnerabilities in 50 different connected home devices ranging from smart thermostats to smart energy management devices, and even security cameras.

Consumers Admit the Risks Are Real

The prevalence of cybercrime has merged with peoples’ perception of real-world risks. Many now see cybercrime dangers as equivalent to risks in the real world.

  • More than half of Canadians (54 per cent) said that over the past five years, it’s become harder to stay safe online than in the real world.
  • Six in ten (60 per cent) said they believe entering financial information online when connected to public Wi-Fi is riskier than reading their credit or debit card number aloud in a public place.
  • More than half of parents (54 per cent) believe their children are more likely to be bullied online than on a playground.

Bad Habits Are Hard to Break – Online or Otherwise

Experiencing cybercrime is a potential consequence of living in a connected world, but consumers still remain complacent when it comes to protecting their personal information online.

  • Millennials exhibit surprisingly slack online security habits, and are happy to share passwords that compromise their online safety (45 per cent). This is likely why they remain the most common victims of cybercrime, representing 32 per cent of Canadians who experienced cybercrime in the past year
  • More than half (54 per cent) of Canadians never connect to a Wi-Fi network using VPN, which can potentially allow a hacker to steal data as it travels on the network.
  • Consumers are still willing to click on links from senders they don’t know or open malicious attachments. Nearly one in four people cannot detect a phishing attack, and another 15 have to guess between a real message and a phishing email.
  • Thinking about cyber security doesn’t mean you’re secure. Canadians who experienced cybercrime within the past year were more likely to be concerned about the security of their home Wi-Fi (51% vs. 40% non-victims), but are just as likely as non-victims to not password protect their home Wi-Fi network (11% for both victims and non-victims).

To learn more about the real impact of cybercrime and how you can protect your digital information, please go here for more information.


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