Cybercrime to get even bigger – expert

Cybercrime to get even bigger – expert

By , Sep 10 in blog with 0 comments

Cybercrime thumb Cybercrime to get even bigger   expertAn expert says cybercrime is soaring, it already costs Australians more than burglary and will only increase as more people use smartphones.

Marian Merritt, internet safety advocate with computer security company Norton, said a new global study showed 69 per cent of adults around the world experienced cybercrime in their lifetime, much more than previously thought because this type of crime mostly isn’t reported.

‘Ten per cent of us have already experienced mobile device related cybercrime. That’s cybercrime on our cellphones, tablets and other devices we carry with us as we go about our business,’ she said.

‘It’s only going to get bigger because we are all doing more and more with our mobile devices,’ she said.

Cybercrime on mobile devices has produced a new word: smishing, or SMS-based phishing which aims to gain private information.

In some countries, many people go straight to mobile devices for all their computing needs, bypassing the home PC route. More and more, mobile devices are being used for routine financial transactions.

‘We are going to walk up to buy coffee and use our mobile device to make that financial transaction, we are going to check our bank balance and we are going to make purchases,’ she said.

‘This is what’s coming in the future and we need it to be safe. This is truly a phenomenon we need to take note of.’

Ms Merritt said part of the problem was that users didn’t treat smartphones in the same way they treated their home PC.

‘We are all playing little bird-related games on them. We put funny stickers on the back of them. They don’t seem like serious devices that need security but boy they really are,’ she said.

In its fourth global review of cybercrime, Norton surveyed the experiences of 20,000 people in 24 countries including 802 in Australia.

Taking into account actual financial losses and other factors such as time lost, the study puts the global cost at $US388 billion over the last year. That makes cybercrime bigger than the combined global market for marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined.

For Australia, that’s a direct cost of $1.8 billion and another $2.8 billion in time spent resolving cybercrime issues. On that basis, cybercrime costs Australia more than the traditional crimes of burglary ($2.2 billion) and assault ($1.4 billion).

The most common form of cybercrime relates to computer virus and malware infection (57 per cent of respondents), followed by online credit card fraud (13 per cent) and hacking of social network data (12 per cent). Worryingly, the survey said, most of this occurred in the last year.

Ms Merritt suggests some simple precautions:

- use security software and keep it up to date (Norton is of course a major vendor).

- use a password for a mobile device (something more sophisticated than 1234) so it can’t be readily used if lost or stolen.


About the author

 Cybercrime to get even bigger   expert Mike Andrew has been working with the Internet and small business for over 12 years. Mike has been a keynote speaker at conventions and seminars and conducted social media training sessions all over the world. Mike has an extensive media background having worked in electronic media for over 30 years. Mike specialises in social media and Internet marketing strategy, SEO techniques and search engine marketing campaigns. His articles appear on numerous blogs around the web as well as national magazines.

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