UAE – According to a report in Arabian Business, Norton by Symantec has released findings from its annual Cyber Security Insights Report, revealing 2.53 million consumers in the UAE have been victims of online crime in the past year as hackers take advantage of consumer complacency.
The report shows that despite spending more than AED 5.2 billion ($1.4 billion) and an average of 31.5 hours per victim dealing with the consequences, UAE consumers affected by cybercrime in the past year are the most likely to continue engaging in risky online behaviour, leaving themselves vulnerable to further attacks.
The report, a survey of nearly 21,000 consumers globally, including 883 in the UAE, shows that while consumer awareness of cybercrime is growing, many are complacent about protecting their personal information.
Consumers taking risks
Nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) know they must actively protect their information online, yet are still willing to click on links or open malicious attachments from senders they don’t know, the survey said.
The survey said consumer complacency and risky online behaviours are helping hackers reap rewards from their efforts as they continue to hone their craft and adapt scams.
It added that although phishing scams have been around for more than two decades, people still have a hard time identifying fake emails with nearly one-third of UAE consumers unable of identifying a phishing attack.
“Our findings show that 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,” said Tamim Taufiq, head of Norton Middle East.
The survey revealed that despite a majority (64 percent) of consumers claiming to use a secure password on every account, nearly one-third (31 percent) share their passwords with others, and many (31 percent) fail to see the danger of using the same passwords across multiple accounts.
It added that as a result of consumer complacency in protecting connected devices, risky online habits and sharing passwords, there has been 420,000 more consumers in the UAE affected by cybercrime in the last year.