A study by Symantec, the maker of Norton security products, has shown that the global cost of cybercrime is as much as $114 billion.
The Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 also shows that due to the time victims lost trying to solve an attack, this figure increased by an additional $274 billion.
This means that cybercrime costs “the world significantly more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined”.
The study is the first to look into how cybercrime affects the worldwide economy.
According to the report, 69% of online adults have fallen victim to some form of cybercrime in their lifetime.
More than one million people become a victim of this kind of crime every day, that’s 14 people per second.
10% of people have become victims via their mobile device, indicating that cybercrooks are beginning to focus their efforts on the “mobile space”.
The reports says that “increased social networking and a lack of protection are likely to be some of the main culprits behind the growing number of cybercrime victims.”
The most likely to fall victim are men who access the net on their mobile device between the ages of 18 and 31 years. The survey showed that 80% of this group had “fallen prey to cybercriminals.”
The most common type of attack on a global basis is from viruses and malware at 54%, which is also the most easily preventable.
Online scams are next on the list at 11%, whilst 10% of people have been a victim of phishing.
A security threat report issued by Symantec earlier this year showed a 19% increase in unique variations of malicious software, with more than 286 million instances of malware in the wild in 2010.
This is compared to 240 million in 2009.
“There is a serious disconnect in how people view the threat of cybercrime,” said Adam Palmer, Norton Lead Cybersecurity Advisor.
“Cybercrime is much more prevalent than people realize. 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.”
This warning is illustrated by the fact that whilst 74% of people say they are aware of cybercrime, many don’t take any precautions.
41% of adults said that they don’t have up-to-date AV protection, 61% don’t use complex passwords or change them and for mobile devices only 16% install security software.
The survey was conducted across 24 countries on adults aged between 18 and 65 years.