Cybercrime victims lose an average of $358 and 21 hours fixing the problem, according to a new survey.
And in a sign of the times, the report found 4 out of 5 people surveyed worry about becoming cybercrime victims, and consumers are twice as likely to believe their credit card information will be stolen online rather than from their wallets. The findings are part of the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report released Monday by cybersecurity company Symantec.
The report surveyed more than 17,000 consumers globally, and some 47 percent of those individuals were victims of cybercrime. In total, nearly 594 million people were affected by cybertheft in 2014, according the report.
Cybercrime ranges from unauthorized access to email accounts and hacking a social media account to credit card and identity theft, according to Bill Rosenkrantz, senior director of product management of Norton for Symantec.
And across the board, the problem is getting bigger and more costly. According to a separate report by the Ponemon Institute and sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, cybercrime costs in the U.S. alone grew 19 percent to $15.4 million in 2014, the latest full year of data available.
The generation gap
The Symantec report also found consumers — especially millennials — need to do more to protect themselves as they tend to share the most amount of data, especially through social networks.
"Millennials are the most tech savvy, do the most downloads, the most sharing and are the most at risk," Rosenkrantz.
Compared to older generations, the Symantec survey found millennials engage is more risky online behaviors. More than 30 percent of millennials admitted to sharing a password, compared to 15 percent of baby boomers.
The safer digital habits are paying off for baby boomers. Only 16 percent of them were the victim of cybercrime in the past year, compared to 44 percent of millennials.
Consumers need to do more
Yet, despite the growing cyberthreats, the Symantec survey found consumers can do more to protect themselves. For one thing, stop sharing passwords.
The survey found that password sharing is common. About 36 percent of survey respondents in the U.S. even admitted to sharing the password for their online banking account.
And in a twist, consumers surveyed also thought they were doing a better job protecting themselves online — despite poor habits like not setting up aggressive passwords. "There is a large gap between perception and reality with protecting themselves online," said Symantec's Rosenkrantz.
The survey found that consumers award themselves an "A" for their cybersecurity behavior, but many still engage is risky online behaviors. One in 3 people surveyed do not have any password on their smartphones or desktop computers.
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To prevent being a victim of cybercrime, Rosenkrantz suggested that consumers update their third-party applications on their mobile devices and computers. An out-of-date browser version or printer software could let a cybercriminal access your information.
Especially with the upcoming holiday season, he said consumers need to be careful on the links they click on. Many seemingly amazing deals could actually link to malware.
Consumers should also monitor their financial statements for any unusual charges, even small ones. Rosenkrantz said cybercriminals often start with small charges to make sure stolen credit card numbers work.