More than 54 million Europeans have been victimised by online crime in the past year as hackers take advantage of consumer complacency.
New research from Norton shows that despite spending $8.7 billion (£6.9 billion) and an average of 12.7 hours per victim dealing with the consequences, Europeans affected by cyber-crime in the past year are the most likely to continue engaging in risky online behaviour. Nearly 21,000 consumers worldwide, including more than 6,000 from six European countries, were surveyed.
More than 75 percent of Europeans know they must actively protect their information online but are still willing to click on links or open malicious attachments from senders they don't know. Twenty-four percent can't detect a phishing attack and another 13 percent have to guess between a real message and a phishing email.
Thirty percent of millennials have experienced cyber-crime in the past year and 40 percent are happy to share passwords that compromise their online safety. Frequent travelers (29 percent), parents (29 percent) and men (24 percent) were also likely to report higher incidents of cyber-crime.
Half of consumers reported that it is now harder to stay safe and secure in the online world than in the real, physical world. More than half (56 percent) said they believe entering financial information online when connected to public Wi-Fi is riskier than reading their credit or debit card number aloud in public. Nearly half believe it's more likely for someone to gain unauthorised access to their connected home devices than their physical homes.
Thirty-eight percent of people have at least one unprotected device leaving their other devices vulnerable to ransomware, malicious websites, zero days and phishing attacks. Of these, 33 percent say it is because they don't believe their devices need protection, and 27 percent say they don't do anything “risky” online, leaving them vulnerable to attack.
More than half (55 percent) of consumers believe that online safety should be self-taught, leaving more people at risk given rampant ignorance about online security.
“People are growing increasingly aware of the need to protect their personal information online, but aren't motivated to take adequate precautions to stay safe. While consumers remain complacent, hackers are refining their skills and adapting their scams to further take advantage of people, making the need for consumers to take some action increasingly important,” said Nick Shaw, general manager and vice president of EMEA at Norton by Symantec.