Symantec reveals profile of PC user least likely to be victim of cybercrime

Brace yourself unless you're a Japanese woman who hates WiFi, porn, email and dishonesty.

Victims of online crimes outnumbered victims of offline crimes by three to one, but fewer than a third of all the computer users surveyed expect to be the victim of a cybercrime during the next 12 months, according to the newest version of Symantec's annual Norton Cybercrime Report.

More than a million adults worldwide suffer some kind of cybercrime every day, at a total global cost of $388 billion – far more than the $288 million total cost of the global trade in cocaine, heroin and marijuana, according to Adam Palmer, lead advisor at Norton Cybersecurity Institute.

Of the $388 billion, $114 billion is in straight financial losses and $274 billion comes from the cost of prevention, remediation, investigation, prosecution, lost time and productivity.

Overall, the chance of becoming one of the 431 million annual victims of cybercrime is 44 percent, compared to 15 percent victimized in the physical world.

Location is more important in cybercrime prevention than in real estate. So is gender, age and degree of geekhood (as measured by the amount of time spent online, not what they do there).

On average, 85 percent of Chinese users suffered some kind of cybercrime compared to 73 percent of U.S. users, 69 percent of Canadians and, toward the bottom of the risk list, 38 percent of Japanese.

Of those who spend more than 49 hours online per week, 79 percent have been victims of cybercrime, compared to 75 percent of those who spend 25-48 hours online and 64 percent of those who put in 1-25 hours.

Men are marginally more likely than women to be victimized; cybercrimes committed against users on mobile phones rose to 10 percent and looks to keep growing.

While self-help and prevention cuts the chances of being victimized, and 87 percent of adults said it's important to have security software protecting them, only 41 percent have up to date security software and 61 percent don't use complex passwords that they change often.

Malware is, by far, the most common cybercrime, victimizing 54 percent of those surveyed. Online scams come in a distant second, notching up 11 percent of victims. Phishing comes in a close third at 10 percent.

What you do online is the second best indicator of your odds of being victimized, following location:

Adult content – 80 percent of porn viewers experienced cybercrime vs. 67 percent of those who don't.

Free WiFi – 77 percent were hit compared to 62 percent of those who don't use free WiFi.

Lying online – oddly, 78 percent of those who misrepresented their personal details online have experienced cybercrime at some point vs. 59 percent of those who don't lie.

So, to be safe, be a female, Japanese, computer-phobe who hates porn, wireless, doesn't respond to email from strangers and spends all her time online updating her security software.

If you don't match these criteria and have been victimized, obviously it's your own fault.

Read more of Kevin Fogarty's CoreIT blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Kevin on Twitter at @KevinFogarty. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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