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Saudi consumers lost SR21b to online crime in 2015: Norton report
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 11 - 08 - 2016

Over 6.5 million people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) experienced cybercrime in the last year, the new findings from the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report revealed on Wednesday.
Surveying 1,000 individuals in the KSA, the research discusses the consequences of consumer cybercrime.
Although it is often believed that Millennials, born in a digital era, are more tech savvy than other generations, the report in fact shows that close to half (46 percent) of Millenials have experienced cybercrime compared to only 37 percent of Generation Xers. Despite this, only 39 percent of Millennials believe that having their identity stolen is more likely than ever before compared to 46 percent of Generation Xers. Adding to this troubling mind-set is that nearly two in every five Millennials admitted to sharing passwords with another person despite understanding its associated risks.
"Unfortunately, online crime has become commonplace in Saudi Arabia with 58 percent of the population having experienced it in the past year. This is 10 percentage points higher than the global average of 48 percent and strongly reinforces the need for a shift in the mind-set of the consumers in the country," said Eyas Hawari, Country Manager for Saudi Arabia, Symantec. "Consumers need to be more proactive in protecting their precious personal data and be aware that taking simple precautionary steps can easily help thwart potential attacks."
Overall, respondents in the KSA reported a range of breaches and cyber activity they had experienced in the last year. With an increasing number of individuals connected and using mobile devices, cyber threats are becoming ever-present amongst all age ranges:
One in four KSA consumers have had their mobile device stolen, potentially exposing the sensitive information in their e-mail, social media and banking apps to thieves
One in seven have had their identity stolen
More than one in six have had someone breach their social media account
Nearly one in every four respondents indicate their e-mail account was breached by a hacker.
The hard cost of cybercrime
In the last year, KSA consumers lost close to a day (20 hours) dealing with the repercussions of online crime. It also cost an average of SR3,230 per person – with consumers losing just over SR21 billion in total. On top of the costs and time involved to recuperate from cybercrime, the findings also explored the emotional impact it can have on victims:
72 percent of KSA respondents would feel devastated if their personal financial information were to be compromised.
63 percent say that dealing with the consequences of a stolen identity would be more stressful than preparing for a presentation at work (45 percent).
Respondents in Saudi Arabia said that experiencing online crime not only left them feeling furious (38 percent) but sad as well (36 percent) highlighting the fact that it is an emotionally charged issue ordeal.
More than half of the respondents (52 percent) believe that it was easier to control personal information before they had smartphones or access to the internet.
Only 19 percent of the respondents feel completely in control of their online security.
Despite concern about online crime becoming widespread, consumers remain bullish in their online behaviors. When asked to grade their security practices, KSA consumers consistently rate themselves a solid "A" and their best friend a mark of "B+". They were a little more critical of their employers, rating them at a "B-".
In reality, consumers are not meeting the most basic tests of online security:
One in three do not have a password on their smartphone, tablet or computer.
Nearly a third believe that Apple devices are immune to threats, despite this being proven false in the past.
More than one-third of cybercrime victims do not take any action, such as changing their password, following an account compromise.
Norton recommends the following best practices:
Exercise tech savvy, passwords are the keys to your kingdom.
Review bank and credit card statements for irregularities, be cautious when handling unsolicited or unexpected emails.
Be vigilant and familiarize yourself with policies from retailers and online services that may request your banking or personal information.
To learn more about the products and services that Norton provides, and how consumers can help protect their digital information, visit ae.norton.com.


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