Speaking of hacking, a new survey released by Symantec reported that almost two-thirds of all Internet users have been the victim of some sort of cybercrime.
The Emotional Toll of CyberCrime
The Norton Cybercrime Report: The Human Impact surveyed 7,000 adults in 14 countries around the world in an effort to better understand the effect cybercrime can have on an individual, as well as to learn more about the types of online activities that can get us into trouble (e.g. illegally downloading files, spying).
While it’s clear that many of us have fallen victim (US - 73 percent, China - 83 percent, Brazil - 76 percent and India - 76 percent), the study sheds light on something that has gone unaddressed -- the psychological toll that cybercrime can inflict on its victims.
The study found that victims are prone to many emotions, ranging from anger (58%) to fear (29%), helplessness (26%) and guilt (78%). For those affected by identity-theft, 12 percent said that the incident was entirely their fault.
Victims Don't Report Online Crimes
It’s clear that while those who have been violated by criminals online feel helpless, there is also little faith that justice will be served. 80% of those surveyed don’t expect cybercriminals to be caught or apprehended. Chalk it up to a distrust of law enforcement or the wide spread nature of the crime, the reality is that only forty-four percent will contact the police.
Instead many will only contact the organization or entity related to the specific crime. Forty-eight percent will contact their bank, and 34% will contact their email provider or the website involved.
Aren't We All Cyber Criminals?
While no one can deny that having one’s identity or other valuable information stolen is a traumatic event, the report also found that they way we perceive our own actions online may question the reality of our victimhood.
For instance, nearly half of respondents felt it “legal” to download a single music track, album or movie without paying (17%, 14% and 15% respectively.) Additionally, one-third of those surveyed have used a fake online identity, 45% lie about personal details (age, sex, income, etc), mostly for online-dating purposes, among others.
Overall, it seems that though we are doing more to protect ourselves online, from not opening suspicious emails to not sharing passwords, we still feel responsible for when bad things happen to us online. Perhaps the wiser thing to do, is to look at our own behaviors to better understand how it could be construed in the eyes of cyber security.