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Sat 26 Nov 2016 01:29 AM

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2.5m UAE consumers said to be hit by cyber crime in past year

New Norton by Symantec report says 420,000 more consumers affected despite increased awareness

2.5m UAE consumers said to be hit by cyber crime in past year

Norton by Symantec has released findings from its annual Cyber Security Insights Report, revealing 2.53 million consumers in the UAE have been victims of online crime in the past year as hackers take advantage of consumer complacency.

The report shows that despite spending more than AED5.2 billion ($1.4 billion) and an average of 31.5 hours per victim dealing with the consequences, UAE consumers affected by cybercrime in the past year are the most likely to continue engaging in risky online behaviour, leaving themselves vulnerable to further attacks.

The report, a survey of nearly 21,000 consumers globally, including 883 in the UAE, shows that while consumer awareness of cybercrime is growing, many are complacent about protecting their personal information.

Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) know they must actively protect their information online, yet are still willing to click on links or open malicious attachments from senders they don’t know, the survey said.

It added that millennials in the UAE are the most commonly affected by online crime, with 53 percent having experienced it within the past year.

The survey said consumer complacency and risky online behaviours are helping hackers reap rewards from their efforts as they continue to hone their craft and adapt scams.

It added that although phishing scams have been around for more than two decades, people still have a hard time identifying fake emails with nearly one-third of UAE consumers unable of identifying a phishing attack.

“Our findings show that people are growing increasingly aware of the need to protect their personal information online, but aren’t motivated to take adequate precautions to stay safe,” said Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East.

“While consumers remain complacent, hackers are refining their skills and adapting their scams to further take advantage of people, making the need for consumers to take some action increasingly important.”

The survey revealed that despite a majority (64 percent) of consumers claiming to use a secure password on every account, nearly one-third (31 percent) share their passwords with others, and many (31 percent) fail to see the danger of using the same passwords across multiple accounts.

It added that as a result of consumer complacency in protecting connected devices, risky online habits and sharing passwords, there has been 420,000 more consumers in the UAE affected by cybercrime in the last year.

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