On The Rise: Cybercrime's $114 Billion Industry
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Cybercrime is costing Australians $4.6 billion a year and is on the rise with people relying on their mobile devices to manage their personal affairs. The criminal industry is valued more than cocaine, heroin and marijuana combined.

The study conducted by Norton valued cybercrime in Australia at $1.8 billion, with an additional $2.6 billion taxpayer cost associated with solving these crimes. With 4 and a half million Australians falling victim, the average amount swindled (before recovery) is $400.

72% of Australians have fallen victim to cybercrime, with 14 victims every second globally resulting in a million per day according to the Norton Cybercrime Report 2011.

Globally, cybercrime is a $114 billion activity, with 431 million adults falling victim. An additional $388 billion accounts for financial and global losses, making cybercrime more taxing than the cumulative cost of marijuana, cocaine and heroin, which account for $288 billion.

The most common types of cybercrime are computer malware and viruses (54%) and are also the most preventable. Following are online scams (11%) and phishing messages (10%).


Mobile phones are also on the rise, catching out 8% of Australians and coinciding with a growing number of mobile OS vulnerabilities. Compared to 2009, the Symantec Internet Security Threat Report (vol. 16) reveals 42% increase in mobile susceptibility, indicating that cybercriminals are going mobile. Despite this, only 16% of mobile net surfers use up-to-date mobile security software.

“There is a serious disconnect in how people view the threat of cybercrime,” said Adam Palmer, Norton Lead Cybersecurity Advisor.

Although people recognise the potential threat of cybercrime, 41% don’t have up to date security software and 61% use simplistic passwords and don’t change them regularly.

“Cybercrime is much more prevalent than people realise. Over the past 12 months, three times as many adults surveyed have suffered from online crime versus offline crime, yet less than a third of respondents think they are more likely to become a victim of cybercrime than physical world crime in the next year. And while 89 percent of respondents agree that more needs to be done to bring cybercriminals to justice, fighting cybercrime is a shared responsibility. It requires us all to be more alert and to invest in our online smarts and safety.”