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Almost 3 out of 4 fear becoming a victim of cyber crime or identity theft

Jason Sattler

29.05.19 4 min. read

The human mind’s reputation for assessing risk remains notoriously bad. But it seems to get cyber crime and identity theft.

Fears of air travel abound. Yet getting into a car remains a far more risky endeavor. Our brain conjures visions of action movie-like peril from intruders and fanatics. Still, heart disease and cancer are far more likely to take us out.

But when it comes to identity theft and cyber crime, people seem to have a realistic understanding of the risks they face from using internet like a normal person.

Worried more about cyber crime and identity theft than your car?

A new F-Secure survey finds that 71% of respondents say they feel that they will become a victim of cyber crime or identity theft. Meanwhile, 73% expressed similar fears about their kids.*

Meanwhile, 66% said they were worried about being a victim of a accident that did damage to their car.

The deadly risks of an automobile collision linger in our mind from the combination of the news and personal experience. Likewise, awareness of the risks of non-life-threatening threats like cyber crime and identity theft seems to arise from a combination of constant headlines detailing the fallout online crime and a close intimacy with these hazards.

The survey found that over half of the consumers have had a family member affected by some form cyber crime (51%). And one out of four users said that several forms of cyber crime have impacted them.

Malware or viruses top the most common threats, followed by credit card fraud then SMS/call fraud.

Your data never sleeps

The time most Americans spend in their car rose to 51 minutes in 2016-2017. Watching TV takes up an average of 2.8 hours a day. Those two activities combined almost match exactly the amount of time spent online, 3.4 hours a day or 23.6 hours a week.

But even when we’re asleep our data and our accounts and even our identity are out there, floating in the cloud.

“It’s almost impossible to avoid using the internet in 2019. Cloud services are now a norm, yet we don’t always know what information about us has been collected, and where it’s stored,” said Kristian Järnefelt, Executive Vice President, Consumer Cyber Security at F-Secure.

Troy Hunt’s Have I Been Pwned site has tracked 7,858,388,981 pwned accounts, as of May 27, 2019. This means there are already more accounts with exposed credentials than there are people on earth.

“F-Secure’s B2B cyber security teams are already seeing many of these cloud services or businesses becoming lucrative targets for the criminals to steal massive amounts of consumer data,” Kristian said.

Businesses know that increasingly question is not if they will be breached but when. This means that even if you practice excellent cyber security, you can become the victim of account takeovers or identity theft.

Secure your identity before, during and after a breach

Identity theft is experienced by less than 1 in 10 internet users, But it may be the most insidious threat that has been enabled by the massive growth of online commerce.

New research from Javelin finds victims of identity fraud are paying more out of their own pockets for fraud. Rip-offs involving opening new accounts in consumers name increased in costs from $3 billion in 2017 to $3.4 billion in 2018.

“Once personal information has been leaked, it is impossible to get it back. And you may not be aware of potential issues for years,” Kristian said. “It is a matter of speed in most of the cases. If consumers can react fast enough, criminals may well find their stolen goods are useless.”

F-Secure ID PROTECTION, coming later this year, will offer complete protection from cyber crime and identity theft. This helps you fight identity theft and account takeovers before criminals can take advantage your personal information in addition to all the other powerful security tools available through F-Secure TOTAL.

*F-Secure Identity Protection Consumer (B2C) Survey, May 2019, conducted in cooperation with survey partner Tolunal; 9 countries (USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Brazil, Finland, Sweden, and Japan), 400 respondents per country = 3600 resp.

Jason Sattler

29.05.19 4 min. read

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