Nearly half of consumers feel overwhelmed keeping data secure online


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The number of cybercrime victims grew 10 percent globally in 2015, according to the Norton Cybersecurity Insights Report released Wednesday by cybersecurity company Symantec.

The growth may come with good reason. Nearly half — 45 percent — of those surveyed feel overwhelmed in the amount of information they need to protect.

“People know it’s an issue, know they need to protect stuff, but are not doing enough,” said Kevin Haley, a director of security for Norton, which makes internet security software.

While the cost per person and time taken to repair is down from 2015 — victims now spend nearly $183 and almost 20 hours fixing the problem — still 689 million people in 21 countries were the victim of cybercrime last year, according to the study.

The report surveyed 20,907 consumers online in 21 countries, including more than 1,000 U.S. participants.

The growth in cybercrime may continue as recent victims still need to do more to protect themselves, according to the survey.

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Norton found that while previous cybercrime victims are more concerned about the security of their home Wi-Fi network, they are less likely than nonvictims to use a password. They are also twice as likely to share passwords, which increases the likelihood of being a victim.

Consumers feeling overwhelmed may be leading to poor security with regard to the Internet of Things — or IoT — which includes includes home devices, like thermostats and webcams that connect to the internet.

One in five consumers do not have any protection for their IoT devices, and 44 percent do not believe there are enough connected devices to make them a target for hackers.

But these devices are vulnerable. Last month, cybercriminals were able to take over 100,000 IoT devices and use them to bring down popular websites like Twitter and Netflix.

“I think this is just the beginning of cybercriminals finding ways to creatively use the Internet of Things. Almost like a test attack,” said James Lyne, global head of security research for Sophos, a cybersecurity company.

The Norton survey was done before the attack. Still, security researchers have published research for years on the vulnerabilities. Symantec found vulnerabilities in 50 smart home devices in March of 2015.

Americans especially need to pay attention. “We’re a big target here,” Symantec’s Haley said in a phone interview with CNBC.

The U.S. is the most susceptible developed country for cyberattacks, with 39 percent of Americans affected, according to Symantec.

Also more likely to be targeted? Millennials, 40 percent of whom fell victim to cybercrime.

Sixty-five percent of millennials are confident in their ability to protect themselves, according to Haley. They may be overconfident.

Millennials are worse than everybody else,” said Haley. “They are obviously online more than anybody else but have a feeling of invincibility.

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