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Cyber criminals switching to mobile targets: Norton in Malaysia

AvantiKumar | Oct. 9, 2012
Norton by Symantec also unveils protection for Windows 8.

Norton in Malaysia modified

PHOTO - (from left) Effendy Ibrahim, Norton Internet safety advocate & director, Norton by Symantec; and Jason Mok, consumer sales manager, Norton by Symantec.


According to the findings from security solutions provider Norton by Symantec's annual cyber crime report, cyber criminals are increasingly targeting mobile devices, while consumer cyber crime now costs the industry about US$110 billion annually.

The 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report is based on self-reported experiences of more than 13,000 adults across 24 countries, said Norton by Symantec's Internet safety advocate & director, Asia, Effendy Ibrahim, speaking on 3 October 2012.

"This year's survey shows an increase in 'new' forms of cyber crime compared to last year, such as those found on social networks or mobile devices - a sign that cyber criminals are starting to focus their efforts on these increasingly popular platforms," said Ibrahim. "One in five online adults (21 percent) has been a victim of either social or mobile cyber crime.

He said 39 percent of social network users have been victims of social cyber crime, specifically:

- 15 percent of social network users reported someone had hacked into their profile and pretended to be them
- 1 in 10 social network users said they'd fallen victim to a scam or fake link on social network platforms
- while 75 percent believe that cyber criminals are setting their sights on social networks, less than half (44 percent) actually use a security solution which protects them from social network threats and only 49 percent use the privacy settings to control what information they share, and with whom
- nearly one-third (31 percent) of mobile users received a text message from someone they didn't know requesting that they click on an embedded link or dial an unknown number to retrieve a 'voicemail'.

"Every second, 18 adults become a victim of cyber crime, resulting in more than one-and-a-half million cyber crime victims each day on a global level," said Ibrahim. "In the past 12 months, an estimated 556 million adults across the world experienced cyber crime, with losses totalling an average of US$197 per victim in direct financial costs.  This figure represents 46 percent of online adults who have been victims of cyber crime in the past 12 months, on par with the findings from 2011 (45 percent)."

"Cyber criminals are changing their tactics to target fast growing mobile platforms and social networks where consumers are less aware of security risks," he said. "This mirrors what we saw in this year's Symantec Internet Security Threat Report which reported nearly twice the mobile vulnerabilities in 2011from the year before."

 Mobile phone vulnerability

"With the mobile phone penetration in Malaysia set to hit 129 percent by the end of this year and 77.32 percent of the population using the Internet, this market is just as vulnerable to cyber criminals who are focused on mobile platforms and social networks," said Ibrahim.  

He said the 2012 Norton Cybercrime Report showed that most Internet users take the basic steps to protect themselves and their personal information - such as deleting suspicious e-mails and being careful with their personal details online. "However, other core precautions are being ignored: 40 percent don't use complex passwords or change their passwords frequently and more than a third do not check for the padlock symbol in the browser before entering sensitive personal information, such as banking details, online."

"In addition, this year's report also indicates that many online adults are unaware as to how some of the most common forms of cyber crime have evolved over the years and thus have a difficult time recognising how malware, such as viruses, act on their computer," said Ibrahim. "In fact, 40 percent of adults do not know that malware can operate in a discreet fashion, making it hard to know if a computer has been compromised, and more than half (55 percent) are not certain that their computer is currently clean and free of viruses.

"Malware and viruses used to wreak obvious havoc on your computer," he said. "You'd get a blue screen, or your computer would crash, alerting you to an infection. But cyber criminals' methods have evolved; they want to avoid detection as long as possible. This year's results show that nearly half of Internet users believe that unless their computer crashes or malfunctions, they're not 100 percent sure they've fallen victim to such an attack."

Norton by Symantec also announced latest versions of its core security products, Norton Internet Security and Norton AntiVirus, which are compatible with Windows 8 and engineered to be safer, optimised for speed and performance, and simpler to use. The latest versions of Norton Internet Security, Norton AntiVirus and Norton 360 Multi-Device are now available for purchase in Malaysia through various retailers and the Norton online store.


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