8.8m hit by cycbercrime in SA

July 6th, 2016
Norton by Symantec has released its findings from the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report revealing that despite growing concerns over online crime, over 8.8 million South Africans fell victim to it in the past year.

Surveying more than 18,000 consumers across 18 markets, including about 1,000 across South Africa, the research sheds a light on the global impact of consumer cybercrime, showing:

  • 76% of South Africans believe that identity theft is more likely than ever before;
  • 2 in 3 (67%) feel it is more difficult to control their personal information as a result of smartphones and the Internet;
  • South Africans are engaged with the topic of security (78% acknowledge the need to actively protect their information), but there is still some notion that security is an inconvenience;
  • 58% would rather cancel dinner plans with their best friend than have to cancel their credit/debit cards after their account has been compromised;
  • And the same percentage (58%) would rather endure a terrible date than deal with credit/debit card customer service after a breach or hack.

Technology both an enabler and a barrier 

Online crimes are increasingly prevalent with more than 1 in 7 having had unauthorised access to a social network profile. Compared to their global counterparts, South Africans have heightened sensitivity to online information compromises – 76 percent believed identity theft was more likely than ever before and 67 percent said it was easier to control personal information before smartphones and the Internet.

South Africans are more likely than their global counterparts to consider themselves tech savvy, but despite this, South African millennials are less likely to take personal responsibility for their security – nearly 1 in 3 millennials admits to abandoning an account rather than deleting it simply because it was easier (31%).

Millennials and Generation Xers are equally likely to have been victims within the last year at a staggering 39% and 37% respectively. However, only 23% of South Africans aged 55 and over experienced cybercrime during this period.

Additional findings include:

  • Nearly 1 in 5 does not have a password on his/her smartphone or desktop computer;
  • 6 in 10 consumers say it is riskier to share their email passwords with a friend than lend him/her their car for a day;
  • Storing credit/banking information in the cloud is viewed as riskier than not wearing a seatbelt;
  • South Africans are more likely to own internet-enabled devices than their global counterparts; smartphones and laptops being most common;
  • Though most devices are protected, South Africans falter when it comes to protecting home theatre devices, wearables, and Internet-connected video game systems;
  • Devices considered easiest to hack are among the most frequently used, such as a smartphones and laptops.

Too much hassle to be careful 

The research has shown that although there are considerable interest and fear in cybercrime, South Africans consider security measures to be a hassle. Fifty eight percent would rather cancel dinner with their best friend than cancel their debit or credit cards when hacked.

  • Over 1 in 3 South Africans admits to password sharing with email account passwords most shared;
  • Nearly 7 in 10 change their passwords after they’ve been compromised… meaning nearly a third don’t (32 percent);
  • Over half check their accounts after a breach has been announced by the media;
  • While nearly half of South African password users always use one that is secure, 1 in 5 still only does so when required;
  • Dealing with the consequences of a stolen identity is considered more stressful than many everyday inconveniences.

“The good news is more and more consumers are aware of the risks of cybercrime but the bad news is they neither feel they are doing enough to prevent it, or feel that technology has prevented them from being able to do anything about it,” said David Ribeiro, Head of Norton, Middle East and Africa. “Despite personal experience, many South Africans continue to put themselves at risk when it comes to online activity.”

Norton recommends the following best practices:

  • Passwords are the key to your kingdom so exercise caution and do not share.
  • Review all bank account and credit card statements to see if there are any irregularities.
  • Always use trusted online payment methods.
  • Do your research on merchants before purchasing online.
  • Never let your bank cards out of your sight.

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