A total of 3.72 million UAE consumers lost approximately AED 3.86 billion ($1.05 billion) to cybercrime in the last year, according to newly released statistics from Norton by Symantec.
The report revealed that more than half (52 percent) of the UAE’s adult online population experienced cybercrime over the course of the year, which average losses of AED669 ($182) each.
The report noted that the UAE’s cybercrime victims each fit a similar profile: they are everyday consumers who express confidence in their abilities to secure themselves against cybercrime, and use multiple devices.
“People have a strong belief in their ability to protect themselves, when in fact the opposite is true,” Haider Pasha, the Norton spokesperson on the Norton Cyber Security Insights Report, told Arabian Business.
“There’s a false sense of security that people have that if they haven’t been a victim, they believe they themselves have been protected.”
The report also found that many cybercrime victims (24 percent) are more likely to use the same password across all their accounts, with 16 percent also likely to save passwords to a file on their device.
Additionally, victims sent an average of 47.9 hours – about six whole working days – dealing with the aftermath of cybercrimes, a figure which Pasha said is approximately twice the global average.
“There’s a measure of productivity lost that we need to factor in part of the overall losses,” he said.
Notably, millennials were found to be far more likely to experience cybercrime than other age groups, which Pasha says is due to their increased level of connectivity. One in five millennials admitted to not having any protective measures in place for at least one of their devices.
Pasha added that cybercrimes will likely become more frequent as more and more people adopt ‘smart homes’ in which a wide range of items, ranging from appliances to cameras, are connected.
“An end user (of a smart home) typically uses things such as a smart camera, or a smart thermostat. The more of these devices that there are, the probably will be higher that we will be victims,” he said. “In order to manage that threat, we need to be more aware.”
According to the data, the largest average financial losses were due to credit card fraud ($1,051), falling for a technical support scam ($476), data breaches ($341) and compromised account passwords ($157).
Survey statistics that form part of the report also show that, despite global headlines about cybersecurity threats, 78 percent of UAE consumers gained or maintained trust in banks and financial institutions, compared to 76 percent who gained or maintained trust in security software and 74 percent in identity theft service providers.
Almost half (49 percent) said they lost trust in credit reporting companies that gather information without consent, while 38 percent said they lost trust in social media platforms.
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