Study: Total annual cost of cybercrime near $400 billion

Norton Cybercrime Report 2011 says 431 million adults victimized annually

Global cybercrime costs nearly $400 billion and affects 431 million adult victims annually, according to Symantec's Norton Cybercrime Report 2011.

The report said on top of the $114 billion in money stolen, cybercrime costs victims an additional $274 billion in time lost, putting the total price tag for Internet-based crimes to $388 billion annually.

"[C]ybercrime costs the world significantly more than the global black market in marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined ($288 billion)," Symantec said in a press release announcing the report.

Check out these troubling details:

* 69% of online adults have been a victim of cybercrime in their lifetime

* Every second 14 adults become a victim of cybercrime, resulting in more than 1 million cybercrime victims every day

* 10% of adults online have experienced cybercrime on their mobile phone

* There were 42% more "mobile vulnerabilities" last year than in 2009

The report also said in addition to an increased threat to mobile users, social networking and lack of security protection also are driving up cybercrime.

According to the Norton study, 80% of men between the ages of 18 and 31 who access the Internet via their mobile phones have been victims of cybercrime in their lives.

The most prevalent cybercrime remains computer viruses and malware, with 54% of respondents reporting having been victimized in their lives. Online scams have victimized 11% of Internet users, with phishing messages close behind at 10%.

So what can victims and potential victims of cybercrime do to protect themselves? Plenty. A whopping 41% of adults say their security software is outdated, while only 47% routinely check credit-card statements for fraud. And 61% continue to ignore password best practices by not using complex passwords and not changing them regularly.

C'mon, people! The least you can do is come up with better passwords. Is that so hard?

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